Understanding experiences of participation among men and women with chronic musculoskeletal pain in vocational rehabilitation
The objective of this study was to provide knowledge about participation and change in participation among men and women experiencing chronic musculoskeletal pain and undergoing multidisciplinary vocational rehabilitation. PARTICIPANTS: Six women and four men participating in a vocational rehabilitation intervention. METHOD: Data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews. The participants were encouraged to talk about their experiences and thoughts regarding participation in different life areas using previous, present, and future expectations. The analysis performed was constant comparative and inspired by grounded theory. RESULTS: The core category was identified as “goal-oriented participation” which represented participation as intentional and situated. Three categories, “participating as before,” “participation constantly changing,” and “participating in work on hold,” were used, taking into account gender-influenced trajectories and understandings of participation before, during, and after sick leave and rehabilitation. CONCLUSION: The different trajectories of participation seemed to be gender specific and were connected to broader societal and environmental factors. These combined aspects seemed to affect values, motivation, and understanding of important goals while experiencing chronic pain. Examining goal-oriented participation may add to the understanding of gender differences in the rehabilitation process and thereby have implications for rehabilitation interventions.