Relationships after stroke: couples’ shared and individual perspectives

Moore, Helen (2020). Relationships after stroke: couples’ shared and individual perspectives. University of Birmingham. Clin.Psy.D.

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Stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide, necessitating care from loved ones. Couple outcomes after stroke demonstrate heterogeneity, with impacts of stroke on relationships remaining poorly understood. Most stroke research takes place with survivors and carers individually. Where research is dyadic, joint or individual interviews are often chosen, thus exploring either co-construction or individual constructions of stroke and relationships. This dyadic, qualitative study explored five couples’ shared and individual perspectives on stroke and relationships and their impact, a mean of eight years post-stroke. Five joint and ten individual, semi-structured interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. A narrative surrounding evolution of couples’ relationships from the past to the present emerged, however narratives regarding the future were absent. Dyads co-constructed narratives of their relational past pre-stroke. Stroke was a life-changing event, leaving couples questioning self, other, and couple identity. Shifts in relational dynamics ensued, with dyads having divergent perspectives on issues such as intimacy. To manage uncertainty and changed dynamics, and to protect their partners, dyads concealed aspects of their post-stroke experience. However, this risked dyads remaining on different pages and navigating a non-negotiated, uncertain future. In conclusion, stroke results in individual and dynamic shifts within relationships, creating uncertainty and divergences in perspective, leaving couples questioning who they are and where they are going. Support from services is essential in helping couples to navigate these challenges.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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