• Living Well with Chronic Pain: A Heuristic Examination of Strategies used by Young Adults to Achieve Well-Being

      Bolger, Monica; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The purpose of this research was to examine how young adults with chronic pain are living well. The scholarly literature supports the notion that chronic pain is debilitating. It is important, however, to explore what factors affect the lived experience of chronic pain for young adults, and what contributes to their ability to live well. Study findings are organized around three major steps that allowed young adults living with chronic pain to attain a state of living well: managing the crisis of chronic pain, achieving stability, and creating a baseline and exceeding the baseline towards living well. These steps facilitated growth, opportunity, and awareness to the ways in which living with chronic pain as a young adult while overcoming adversity. Utilizing a heuristic phenomenological approach, the co-researchers were able to share their lived experience followed by an intense qualitative data analysis. Upon completion of data analysis, the information revealed a moving model demonstrating living well with chronic pain. Study findings also identified key strategies for living well with chronic pain: increasing positive emotion, prioritizing personal health, hope and optimism, and increasing social connection. Each strategy facilitates movement from living with chronic pain to living a meaningful life within the parameters of their chronic pain experience. This study found that young adults living with chronic pain can engage in purposeful actions to increase their capacity to live well and achieve satisfaction with life. These findings have implications for professionals who work with individuals who live with chronic pain, particularly for the young adult demographic.