The liminal self in people with multiple sclerosis: an interpretative phenomenological exploration of being diagnosed

Karen Strickland, Allison Worth, Catriona Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims and objectives: To explore the lived experience of the meaning of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on the individual's sense of self. Background: The time leading up to and immediately following the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has been identified as a time period shrouded by uncertainty and one where individuals have a heightened desire to seek accurate information and support. The diagnosis brings changes to the way one views the self which has consequences for biographical construction. Design: A hermeneutic phenomenological study. Methods: In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 10 people recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings: This study presents the three master themes: the ‘road to diagnosis’, ‘the liminal self’ and ‘learning to live with multiple sclerosis’. The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis may be conceptualised as a ‘threshold moment’ where the individual's sense of self is disrupted from the former taken-for-granted way of being and propose a framework which articulates the transition. Conclusion: The findings highlight the need for healthcare professionals to develop interventions to better support people affected by a new diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The conceptual framework which has been developed from the data and presented in this study provides a new way of understanding the impact of the diagnosis on the individual's sense of self when affected by a new diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. This framework can guide healthcare professionals in the provision of supportive care around the time of diagnosis. Relevance for Clinical Practice: The findings provide practitioners with a new way of understanding the impact of the diagnosis on the individual’s sense of self and a framework which can guide them in the provision of supportive care around the time of diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1714-1724
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume26
Issue number11-12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

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