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Title: Food, caring and illness in the family setting
Author: Gregory, Susan
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2000
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This study explores the processes by which people in families manage the experience of chronic illness, specifically in relation to dietary recommendations for medical reasons. The two medical conditions chosen to represent chronic illness were coeliac disease and coronary heart disease. Adults in 41 families were asked to talk about organising and managing the special diet within the family setting. Most participants were married or living as married at the time of the interviews, but a few were widowed or divorced. In half of these households one spouse was diagnosed with coeliac disease, and in half one spouse was diagnosed with coronary heart disease. The study was designed so that within each medical condition equal numbers of men and women had the condition. Participants were interviewed on two occasions approximately three to four weeks apart. The study used in-depth interviews conducted using a framework drawn from previous research but allowing for the emergence of new and unanticipated data. The interviews were taped, fully transcribed and analysed using a process of detailed general coding and then focused coding for emergent themes. At the outset it was assumed that gender would be a significant factor particularly in the organisation, production and consumption of food and meals. The position of the 'home manager', that is, the person mainly responsible for food and meals in the family, (usually female) was the main focus of the study. Analysis of the data revealed: Gender remained a significant factor in the ways that the families organised and managed domestic tasks and activities. However, the nature and meaning of the family relationship was seen to be equally important as a process by which social life was created and reproduced on a day to day basis. The intrusion of chronic illness into the family relationship, although disruptive in both consequence and significance, was absorbed and managed, usually by wives and mothers, in ways which sought to minimise perceptions of the burden involved. An emphasis upon the natural and the ordinary was conveyed by participants which lead to a sense of stability yet flexibility reflective of Gidden's term 'ontological security'. The desire to lead a normal life', expressed by some participants and implied by others, provided a key overarching theme.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Chronic; Special diets; Nutrition; Gender; Women