Date of Conferral
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a musculoskeletal and neurological disorder that causes constant pain, cognitive problems with short term memory, and sleep disorders. There are more females diagnosed with FM than males, and research has therefore primarily been conducted with females. Because little is known about African American males with FM, biopsychosocial theory was used in this phenomenological study to examine how African American males with FM are affected biologically, psychologically, and socially. Eight African American males diagnosed with FM were recruited from Houston, Texas and were interviewed about their lived experiences with FM, including experiences with the healthcare system, and how they used the internet to seek information about FM. Individual interview transcripts, conduct open coding, and thematic analysis led to identification of the following themes: (a) lengthy multiple medical evaluations to receive a diagnosis and various symptoms; (b) physical challenges, physical limitations, emotional issues, and cognitive issues experienced with FM; (c) limited physical and emotional support from family and friends; (d) hopeful about work and plans; (e) trust and confidence in healthcare providers and medical information obtained by asking questions; (f) limited internet search and not involved in online FM forums. The study showed that African American males with FM may experience debilitating symptoms and may use faith-based beliefs as one way to cope with FM. These results may bring positive social changes by providing caretakers with a better understanding of how FM affects the quality of life of African American males with FM, and provide new data to assist healthcare providers in diagnosing, treating, and serving this population.