Fibromyalgia (FM) is a syndrome characterized by chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain. Its prevalence is estimated to be about 2% to 5% of the adults in the United States (Arnold et al., 2019). However, significant variations exist in this respect, due to a lack of consensus about the guidelines for FM diagnosis by physicians. FM symptoms are not restricted to pain, and often include fatigue, anxiety, depression, somatic and cognitive symptoms, and poor quality of life. Although its etiological causes are still not clear, important psychological, social, and cultural factors have been linked to the onset, maintenance, and to the ways to respond to the condition, raising questions that remain unanswered to clinicians (Arnold et al., 2010, 2019; DeLuca et al., 2011; Yunus, 2012). The aim of this study was to understand the psychosocial characteristics of fibromyalgia in Latinas, precipitating factors as well as particular experiences, and ways to cope with it. Biopsychosocial theory was used to explore past and present social dynamics of people with FM, cultural influences, and psychological traits and mechanisms to deal with it. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four patients, and after an interpretative phenomenological analysis, the major themes are presented. These results aim to help better understand this condition in Latinas, to guide clinicians to develop culturally responsive treatments for this population, and to ultimately decrease the stigma that persists around it.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fibromyalgia; Psychosomatic aspects; Hispanic American women

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Faculty Advisor

Carrie Castañeda-Sound