A life transformed : the lived experiences of Māori with chronic pain : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Science in Health Psychology at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Due to its subjective nature, pain can be a complex and difficult health issue to address; pain and pain experiences need to be better understood in order for improvements to be made in how it is responded to and managed. Although there is some international research exploring cultural issues in pain, very little research of this kind has been conducted in Aotearoa, where significant health disparities exist between Māori and non-Māori. Furthermore, there is a lack of research with a specific focus on the chronic pain experiences of Māori in Aotearoa. The aim of the present research was to fill this gap in the literature, by addressing the following research question: how do Māori talk about their lived experiences of chronic pain? The methodology used for this research included a Kaupapa Māori approach along with Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven Māori adults who were experiencing chronic pain or a chronic painful health condition. Analysis of the interview transcripts resulted in identification of four superordinate themes and thirteen subthemes. These were ‘A life transformed by the experience of chronic pain’ (four subthemes), ‘Experiences of chronic pain as Māori’ (four subthemes), ‘Evaluating treatment experiences’ (three subthemes), and ‘Negative perceptions, negative experiences’ (two subthemes). The major implications drawn from these results are a clear need to incorporate greater cultural consideration into consultations and treatment with Māori who have chronic pain, as well as a broader need to improve the treatment and care of people who have chronic pain. These needs are both informed and driven by commitments to Te Tiriti and health equity in Aotearoa.