Life stories of people with rheumatoid arthritis who retired early: how gender and other contextual factors shaped their everyday activities, including paid work

  • Objective: The aim of the present study was to explore how contextual factors affect the everyday activities of women and men with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as evident in their life stories. Methods: Fifteen people with RA, who had retired early due to the disease, were interviewed up to three times, according to a narrative biographic interview style. The life stories of the participants, which were reconstructed from the biographical data and from the transcribed ‘told story’ were analysed from the perspective of contextual factors, including personal and environmental factors. The rigour and accuracy of the analysis were enhanced by reflexivity and peer‐review of the results. Results: The life stories of the participants in this study reflected how contextual factors (such as gender, the healthcare system, the support of families and social and cultural values) shaped their everyday activities. In a society such as in Austria, which is based on traditional patriarchal values, men were presented with difficulties in developing a non‐paid‐work‐related role. For women, if paid work had to be given up, they were more likely to engage in alternative challenging activities which enabled them to develop reflective skills, which in turn contributed to a positive and enriching perspective on their life stories. Health professionals may thus use some of the women's strategies to help men. Conclusion: Interventions by health professionals in people with RA may benefit from an approach sensitive to personal and environmental factors.

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Author:T. A. Stamm, K. P. Machold, J. Smolen, Birgit Prodinger
Parent Title (English):Musculoskeletal Care
Document Type:Article (peer reviewed)
Publication Year:2010
Tag:Everyday activities; Gender; Rheumatoid arthritis
First Page:78
Last Page:86
Peer reviewed:Ja
faculties / departments:Fakultät für Angewandte Gesundheits- und Sozialwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit