An exploration into how partners of those with a brain injury experience lack of emotional warmth, and its impact on the partner relationship

De Gray Towell, Adele (2022). An exploration into how partners of those with a brain injury experience lack of emotional warmth, and its impact on the partner relationship. University of Birmingham. Clin.Psy.D.

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Personality changes following a brain injury, such as the lack of expression of emotional warmth, can cause significant difficulty in the partner relationship, The loss of emotional warmth has been found to have high correlation with relationship discontinuity (Yasmin, 2019; Riley et al., 2020), yet limited research has attempted to understand the connection between the two. The aim of the present study was to explore in greater detail how partners experience changes in emotional warmth, and specifically to explore how they impact on the couple relationship.
Seven participants (all partners of persons who had experienced a brain injury) were recruited via the charity Headway. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant. Interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Participants reported a range of changes in emotional warmth. Not all participants described changes in all behaviours, with some reporting that warmth from their partner was still experienced in some areas. Two superordinate themes were generated with four subordinate themes in each in relation to the impact these changes had on the partner relationship and how participants coped with these changes.
The findings support previous research that emotional changes are detrimental to the partner relationship and offers some understanding into how these changes impact on the relationship and how partners cope with these changes. In terms of clinical implications, more awareness needs to be given to these changes in clinical practice, both in terms of assessing them and offering support for managing them.

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, Centre for Applied Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman


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