Michelle Taylor, PsyD, is a 2021 graduate of the PsyD program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.
Christopher Heffner, PsyD, PhD, Committee Chair
Dana Waters, PsyD, ABPP, Committee Member
Michelle Brown, PsyD, Committee Member
PERMA model, well-being, positive psychology, chronic pain, qualitative psychology
Recognizing the need to include individuals with chronic pain in mainstream well-being profiling and to move beyond the debilitating factors inherent in this population, this study aimed to understand how individuals with moderate to severe chronic pain experience well-being in the light of positive psychology. Guided by the PERMA model, the goal was to track enhancers and challenges for well-being in reference to the model’s five components: positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Participants included six individuals living with daily moderate to severe chronic pain. One in-depth interview was conducted with each participant. Results pointed to overall moderate well-being. Adequate pain management, resilience, and positive relationships in participant’s lives appeared as the overarching sustainers of well-being, while the loss of control that chronic pain brings to an individual’s life was the most challenging issue regarding each participant’s flourishing. Emotions were variable, and positively influenced by individual participants’ protective factors. Participants were most engaged with loved ones and doing activities that over-rode their pain. While relationships were impacted as a result of having chronic pain, each participant had a dependable support system. Meaning was built from connections with others, and accomplishment included resilience and future goals related to one’s health. Health, a possible addition to the PERMA model, was also included in the results: this addition highlighted issues affecting participant’s vitality. Implications are discussed in relation to the utility and delivery of well-being enhancing components for mental health and medical professionals working with individuals living in chronic pain.
Taylor, M. A. (2021). Flourishing With Chronic Pain. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/664