Resilience and art in chronic pain

Mary Lynch
Gail Sloane
Caitlin Sinclair
Raewyn Bassett


Background: Previous work has identified the importance of art in health and healing but little has been published on specific responses from artistic populations. Aims: The aim of this study was to explore the experience of a group of people living with chronic pain who were able to continue to create art in the face of pain. Our hypothesis was that each of these participants had made a positive adaptation to the experience of pain and that we could learn more about the process of coming to terms with pain from them. Methods: A qualitative approach using thematic analysis was undertaken using a self-report questionnaire containing 16 questions. The data were analyzed using a general inductive approach, dominant themes were summarized and interpretive analysis was done. Results: Key themes that emerged addressed the impact of pain (e.g. limitation, loss, social isolation, stigmatization) along with the process needed to come to terms with it (acceptance, adaptation) and the transformative aspects of creating art. Conclusions: This study confirms the depth of suffering associated with the experience of chronic pain and the incredible resilience required of the creative mind in overcoming serious adversity in a way that fosters growth and finds new meaning.

Resource/Research Type:
Research Type: Qualitative
Resource Type: Journal Article
Document Details:
Author: Mary Lynch, Gail Sloane, Caitlin Sinclair, Raewyn Bassett
Journal: Arts & Health
Pages: 1-17
Publisher Details:
Publisher Year: 2012
Audio/Video Details: