People with CFS/ME suffer from physical symptoms and restriction in roles. Having a contested condition means facing scepticism, stigma and disbelief. Previous researcher-mediated studies found that people with CFS/ME excluded psychological explanations, to ward off negative stereotypes and to position themselves as genuinely ill. In this study I used social identity theory and discourse analysis methods to explore the identities exhibited by people with CFS/ME on an online forum. This study confirmed previous findings, namely that posters experienced biographical disruption owing to symptom severity and loss of roles and relationships. It also found that posters re-asserted limited self-efficacy to renegotiate their roles, to persuade family, friends and doctors that they were seriously ill and to position themselves as experts in CFS/ME. This raised the social status of the ingroup, people with CFS/ME. A new finding was that some posters considered psychological factors as exacerbating or causing CFS/ME.
|2 Feb 2015
|Published - 2 Feb 2015