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Title: The psychological impact of having a family member diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment
Author: Pulford, Polly
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 0899
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2016
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Background: The study aimed to investigate the perspective of family members of someone diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and its psychological impact. Little is known about how MCI impacts the life, roles and relationships of family members. Similarly, there is very limited research into how families of those with MCI relate to the role of ‘carer’ and their opinions of the diagnostic process. Methods: Participants were recruited through opportunity sampling in a memory assessment service in the South of England. Seven family members took part in semi-structured interviews to gain a thorough understanding of their experiences. The sample was made up of four females and three males who identified as spouses or offspring of the person with MCI. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: Four major themes were revealed across the data: “The ups and downs of the diagnostic process”, “MCI is not a clear concept”, “MCI has made the future uncertain”, and “Changes are coming”. There were varied opinions about the diagnostic process and people were concerned about the lack of available information. Following the diagnosis, relatives had been left managing a lot of uncertainty, and people noted different responses to and impacts of this. There were discussions about existing and anticipated changes to life as a result of MCI. Conclusions: The current research identified several new ideas in the MCI literature, including relatives’ positive experiences of the diagnostic process, not yet identifying with the ‘carer’ role and concerns about how people are referred into memory services. There was support for existing literature regarding the difficulty of managing the uncertainty of MCI and the changes caused to relationships as a result of MCI. Several clinical implications were suggested that could improve family members’ experience of the diagnostic process, coping and adjustment.
Supervisor: Davis, Paul Sponsor: University of Surrey
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available