Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Communication

First Advisor

Aimee E. Miller-Ott


According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (2014), fibromyalgia is identified as an arthritis-related ailment, but it does not damage tissues or cause any form of inflammation. However, individuals with fibromyalgia still experience pain and fatigue. Based on Arnold et al.’s (2008) conclusion that individuals with fibromyalgia experience disrupted relationships, isolation, and loss of or lack of advancement in an occupation, and because women are diagnosed with fibromyalgia more frequently than men, my focus in the study was on the workplace experiences of women with fibromyalgia. Specifically, I was interested in uncovering how these women managed private information about their illness at work, experienced changes in their own and others’ behaviors at work, and perceived being stigmatized by others at work due to their illness. I used Communication Privacy Management (CPM) theory as the guiding framework. I conducted nine in-depth interviews with women afflicted with fibromyalgia who also work. Various themes arose from the interviews related to disclosure, behavioral changes, and stigma. I identify various implications for the study and address limitations and areas for future research.


Imported from ProQuest Hall_ilstu_0092N_11007.pdf


Page Count


Included in

Communication Commons