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The 'I' in fibromyalgia - How does fibromyalgia shape academic identity?

Brown, N; (2016) The 'I' in fibromyalgia - How does fibromyalgia shape academic identity? Presented at: SRHE Newer and Early Career Researchers Conference, Newport, South Wales. Green open access

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Abstract

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is characterised by wide-spread pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, cognitive dysfunctions, increased sensitivity and psychological disorders (White and Harth, 2001). Also, fibromyalgia is typically variable regarding its symptoms and their severity from one day to the next, even from one hour to the next (Wolfe and Walitt, 2013). Globally, between 0.66% and 10.5% of the general population suffer from fibromyalgia (Queiroz, 2013). Wessely (1994) highlights a high representation of students, teachers, medical staff and doctors amongst sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis and neurasthenia, illnesses that are all related and co-morbid to fibromyalgia. My research explores how academics make sense of their experiences and how fibromyalgia with all its symptoms impacts academic identity. Although fibromyalgia is often considered as a pain syndrome, my research relates to the impact of fibromyalgia in all its facets, thus includes the influence of cognitive dysfunctions and fatigue on those working in a cognitively demanding profession. The nature of fibromyalgia and the imprecision of words within pain and illness experiences (Scarry, 1985) mean that the traditional narrative approach (McMahon, Murray and Simpson, 2012) may not be best suited to capture the lived experience of an academic suffering from fibromyalgia. Therefore, I use creative data collection methods, visual representations, metaphors and identity boxes. Billot and King (2015) acknowledge the potential of metaphors for academic identity research, but they do not use physical and material representations. My poster contributes to methodological debates relating to research into academic identity. Billot J and King V (2015) Understanding academic identity through metaphor. Teaching in Higher Education 20(8): 833-844. McMahon L, Murray C and Simpson J (2012) The potential benefits of applying a narrative analytic approach for understanding the experience of fibromyalgia: A review. Disability and Rehabilitation 34(13): 1121-1130. Queiroz LP (2013) Worldwide epidemiology of fibromyalgia. Current Pain and Headache Reports 17: 356. Scarry, E (1985) The body in pain: The making and unmaking of the world. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wessely S (1994) Neurasthenia and chronic fatigue. Transcultural Psychiatric Research Review 31: 173-209. White K and Harth M (2001) Classification, epidemiology, and natural history of fibromyalgia. Current Pain and Headache Reports 5:320-329.

Type: Poster
Title: The 'I' in fibromyalgia - How does fibromyalgia shape academic identity?
Event: SRHE Newer and Early Career Researchers Conference
Location: Newport, South Wales
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Fibromyalgia, academic identity, creative research, identity box.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Arts and Sciences (BASc)
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1544003
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