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The impact of assuming the primary caregiver role following traumatic spinal cord injury: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the spouse's experience.

Dickson, Adele; O'Brien, Gráinne; Ward, Richard; Allan, David; O'Carroll, Ronan E

Authors

Adele Dickson

Gráinne O'Brien

Richard Ward

David Allan

Ronan E O'Carroll



Abstract

This study aimed to explore the lived experience of assuming the primary caregiver role in a group of spouses of individuals living with a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) (injuries ranged from paraplegia to quadriplegia). Individual in-depth interviews were conducted with 11 participants who were both the spouse and primary caregiver of an individual with a SCI; of these, 10 were female and 1 was male. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and were subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Here we present three inter-related master themes: 'The emotional impact of SCI'; 'Post-injury shift in relationship dynamics' and 'Impact of caregiving on identity'. Regarding the emotional impact of spinal injury, participants reported an almost instantaneous sense of loss, emptiness and grief during the injured person's rehabilitative period and feelings of anxiety were reported in anticipation of their return to the family home. A distinct change in role from spouse and lover to care provider was reported and this ultimately contributed to relationship change and a loss of former identity. The findings are discussed in relation to extant caregiver literature and recommendations for future caregiver support are highlighted

Citation

Dickson, A., O'Brien, G., Ward, R., Allan, D., & O'Carroll, R. E. (2010). The impact of assuming the primary caregiver role following traumatic spinal cord injury: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the spouse's experience. Psychology and Health, 25(9), 1101-1120. https://doi.org/10.1080/08870440903038949

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 11, 2009
Publication Date 2010-11
Deposit Date Jan 13, 2012
Publicly Available Date Jan 13, 2012
Journal Psychology and HEalth
Print ISSN 0887-0446
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 9
Pages 1101-1120
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/08870440903038949
Keywords Caregivers; Psychosocial Factors; Caregiver Burden; Spinal Cord Injuries;Family RoleSpouses -- Psychosocial Factors.
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/4880
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08870440903038949

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