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Working-age adults’ perspectives on living with persistent postural-perceptual dizziness: a qualitative exploratory study
  1. Ann Elisabeth Ignace Sezier1,
  2. Nicola Saywell2,
  3. Gareth Terry3,
  4. Denise Taylor2,
  5. Nicola Kayes3
  1. 1School of Clinical Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2Health and Rehabilitation Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
  3. 3Centre for Person Centred Research, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Ann Elisabeth Ignace Sezier; asezier{at}


Objectives To (a) explore the experiences of persistent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD), formerly chronic subjective dizziness on the personal, work and social lives of working-age adults; (b) enhance current understandings of the condition and its impact on the lives of working-age adults and (c) highlight points for consideration and importance to clinical practice.

Methods This qualitative exploratory study drew on interpretive descriptive methodology. Working-age adults (n=8) diagnosed with PPPD were recruited from a single New Zealand community-based specialist clinic. Data from interviews (n=8) and postinterview reflections (n=2) were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results Three themes were constructed: (1) It sounds like I’m crazy—referring to the lack of medical, social and self-validation associated with PPPD; (2) I’m a shadow of my former self—representing the impact of the condition on sense of self and life trajectory and (3) How will I survive?— highlighting individual coping processes.

Conclusion This study contributed to the existing body of knowledge by highlighting the complexity and fluidity of experiencing PPPD. It also drew attention to the tension between the acute illness framework that forms the basis of many therapeutic interactions and the enduring psychosocial support needs of the person experiencing PPPD. The findings highlighted that contextual factors need to be taken into account and that a person-centred and biopsychosocial approach, rather than a condition-specific biomedical approach, is needed for care to be perceived as meaningful and satisfactory.

  • qualitative
  • PPPD
  • persistent postural-perceptual dizziness
  • chronic subjective dizziness
  • CSD

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  • Contributors AEIS: was the principal investigator in this study under supervision of NK, NS and DT, who are well-established researchers in the field of long-term conditions and rehabilitation. AEIS: conducted and transcribed all participant interviews and analysed the data. NK, NS, DT: contributed to data interpretation and analysis. NK, GT: ensured that methodological rigour was maintained. GT: a health researcher with extensive experience in thematic analysis mentored AS through the analysis and write up of this project. AEIS: is first author and wrote the first draft of this paper. NK, GT, DT, NS: contributed to consecutive drafts and revisions. All authors have agreed to the final version of the paper.

  • Funding I am a postgraduate of an affiliated association (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand) which is funding the publishing charge.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Auckland University of Technology Ethics Committee (AUTEC 14/256) granted approval for this study.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. As part of the ethics agreement, raw data cannot be shared with parties not directly involved in the research.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.