Fibromyalgia in the workplace: Exploring the impact of chronic pain upon white -collar workers

by Gauer, Jeffrey S., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2009, 208 pages; 3344894


Using a qualitative approach, this exploratory study delves into one of the most intangible of disabilities: fibromyalgia. Historically, chronic pain has been researched exclusively by those in the medical and psychosocial fields. By investigating the influence of fibromyalgia in the workplace, this study brings a management focus to the topic of chronic pain. By providing a more transparent and objective approach to discussing and addressing fibromyalgic employees' symptoms affecting workplace performance, this study provides a framework for beginning to address shortcomings in the workplace experience for chronic pain sufferers. White-collar workers suffering from chronic pain were interviewed to determine common threads in their work experiences. Seven major themes were uncovered, in relation to two research questions: What is the psychosocial experience of chronic pain sufferers in the workplace, as related to their day-to-day activities, motivation, and relationships with managers, subordinates, and peers? and What recommendations do chronic pain sufferers make in terms of improving the work experience for themselves and for their coworkers? This study builds upon prior chronic pain research and confirms that, among fibromyalgia sufferers, this medical condition severely curtails daily employment and career security. This study examines fibromyalgia–a disease not currently recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act–and makes recommendations for addressing more proactively chronic pain in the workplace.

AdviserLaura Markos
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsOccupational safety; Management; Occupational psychology
Publication Number3344894

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