Needing to be Normal: Understanding the Experiences and Barriers of Young Men with Ankylosing Spondylitis
Kohler, Graeme Patrick
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Abstract Graeme Kohler BSc. (Health Education), MA (Health Promotion) School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University Objective: To understand the experiences of young men living with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). Methods: Using an interpretive phenomenological research approach, two semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 male informants ranging from ages 22 – 37. All of the informants lived in Nova Scotia and had been diagnosed with AS for at least one year. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Results & Conclusions: Informants displayed a strong affinity to hegemonic masculine behaviours. The overriding theme was I’m a Man. The four emerging themes were: Trying to maintain normalcy, Do what I like to do, I have to work, and I don’t really ask for support. Several barriers to support and health care access were identified that have implications for health promotion, the men themselves, and various AS care providers.