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Self-Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Photovoice Study

Submitted on 20th October 2020


An innovate study by Susie Donnelly, which uses photographic methods to investigate the self-management of Rheumatoid Arthritis, has just been published in the DRI repository.  

An innovate study by Susie Donnelly, which uses photographic methods to investigate the self-management of Rheumatoid Arthritis, is newly available in the DRI repository.  

'Self-Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Photovoice Study' is a national participatory action research project conducted between 2018 and 2020. This was a qualitative study involving 11 people from the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) community in Ireland who were tasked with taking photographs of what they understood as 'the challenges and solutions to living with rheumatoid arthritis'. We sought to record and reflect the community’s strengths and concerns; raise awareness of the lived experience of self-managing RA; and spark a dialogue among key stakeholders around the self-management of RA.  

Fieldwork involved a series of participatory workshops and individual semi-structured interviews with participants to capture their lived experience of RA. Interviews were audio conducted face-to-face by the lead researcher, in the participant's home or a place that was convenient and suitably private. Workshops were conducted in a private meeting room in Dublin city centre. Fieldwork was carried out in the summer of 2019 and culminated with a series of public exhibitions of a selection of the participant's photos throughout the Autumn of 2019. 

All data is anonymised.

Ethics Committees at University College Dublin and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin approved this study (UCD HREC LS-18-66-Donnelly); (MMUH Institutional Review Board Reference: 1/378/2017). 

As part of a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) initiative, an advisory group of people living with RA collaborated on this project. 

Funding was awarded from the UCD Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund which was financed jointly by University College Dublin and the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership as part of a Medical Humanities and Social Science Collaboration Scheme (ref 204844/Z/16/Z). 

Access to the study is restricted to those engaged in teaching and learning, researchers and lecturers can request access via the study page here


Related publications: 

Plain language report: 

Donnelly, S., Wilson, A.G., Mannan, H., Dix, C. Whitehall, L. Kroll, T. (Under review) '(In)Visible Illness: A Photovoice Study of the Lived Experience of Self-Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis'.  

Donnelly, S. Manning, M. Kroll, T., Mannan, H., Wilson, A.G. (forthcoming) The Negotiated Self: A Qualitative Evidence Synthesis of the Self- Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Health Expectations. 


Image credit: Ursula 

DRI is funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) via the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Irish Research Council (IRC).

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