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Title: Women's understandings of their relationship with their husband in the early stages of his gradual onset dementia
Author: Candey, Louise.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3518 6616
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2001
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Objectives: This study attempted to conceptualize women's understandings of the changes in their marital relationship in the first six months following a husband's diagnosis of gradual onset dementia, the nature and mechanism of transition to the role of caregiver, and the construal of the marriage in contrast to other care oriented relationships. Method: Six wives whose husbands had been diagnosed with gradual onset dementia in the previous six months participated. The qualitative techniques of grounded theory and data displays were applied to data derived from qualitative semi-structured interviews. This data was triangulated with rated repertory grids of care relationships, analyzed using a variant of INGRID. Results: The qualitative analysis yielded six significant categories pertaining to the research questions, organized temporally. A pre-existing relationship was punctuated unexpectedly by changes in a husband (catalysts) to which a wife reactively responded (adjustments of power and intrapersonal processes, and emotional consequences). This dynamic and continuous process driven by a husband's deterioration was termed 'role making'. A tripartite typology of pre-existing informal marital contracts emerged from the data underpinned by dimensions of 'power' and 'merging of identity'. This had utility in predicting the emotional consequences a wife was likely to experience, and the catalysts proving to be problematic, but not endorsement of a 'wife' or 'caregiver' role. The repertory grid analysis revealed that none of the wives replicated wholesale a 'parental' mothering model in caring for their husbands, but integrated aspects of different prior caring experiences in a flexible way, in accordance with situational demands. Conclusion: Wives' adjustments in the relationship, and the emotional impact of caring for a husband in the early stages of dementia are significant, and largely una~knowledged. There is also a need for the recognition of the importance of the marital relationship, beyond a predetermined definition of 'quality'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Qualitative