Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) challenges everyday functioning and well-being. The aim of this study was to structure and summarize the life experiences of Chilean women with SS in an integrated model.
Interviews from a previous study yielded 75 experiences of living with SS. A sample of 30 women with SS sorted these experiences by content and rated their level of agreement with each experience. A hierarchical cluster analysis was used to structure the experiences of the participants with SS in a comprehensive overview. A team-based consensus analysis was used to define the number of clusters. The level of agreement was examined with Wilcoxon’s signed rank test.
Ten clusters were identified and grouped into 6 main categories: symptoms (clusters: mucosal dryness and related symptoms), social environment, emotion management (clusters: fears and sadness), information (clusters: uncertainty and lack of knowledge), coping strategy (clusters: resilience and self-care), and health staff relationship. The clusters that describe the more common experiences among patients were resilience, self-care, uncertainty, lack of knowledge, health staff relationship, and mucosal dryness.
This study provided an integrated and structured overview of disease experiences comprising both biomedical and psychosocial aspects as being of vital importance for the health of patients with SS. The overview can be used to get a quick impression of disease experiences that are important for an individual patient, in a therapeutic goal setting, and in the construction and evaluation of medical and nonmedical interventions or education.