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Table 2 Example of meaning unit, condensed meaning unit, interpretation, subthemes and themes from content analysis

From: Patients’ experiences of living with medically unexplained symptoms (MUS): a qualitative study

Meaning Unit Condensed meaning unit, description close to the text Interpretation (Code) Subtheme Theme
 (1) “When I come to the doctor and he asks: ‘How are things?’, I say: ‘All the same’. It’s a situation in which simply nothing gets better. So…so I get medicines again and… and again it all goes on.” How are things, all the same, nothing gets better, I get medicines again, it all goes on. Description of the patient’s condition No improvement no change Experience of symptoms
 (2) “I explain this to myself as follows: all the time I’ve been in an environment where there was a very tense and nervous atmosphere and it affected me...” I explain this by being in a tense and nervous atmosphere, and it affected me. The impact of a stressful environment on the patient External social factors Explanation of symptoms