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Title: In it together : the experiences of partners/spouses living with a loved one with bipolar disorder
Author: Barnett, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 4331
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2011
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The aims of this study were to explore partners' experiences of living with a loved one with bipolar disorder and how they coped with these experiences. Another aim was to explore whether these individuals felt that Counselling Psychologists could play a role with care-giving tasks and their own psychological needs. Five individuals, who were currently living with, or had been living with, a partner with bipolar disorder, volunteered and participated in a semi-structured interview. These interviews were transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) as described by Smith, Flowers and Larkin (2009). A table of super-ordinate and sub-ordinate themes was created as a result of this analysis. Partners' experiences are characterised by various phases which partners could move around and between. This was referred to as the 'cycle of changing illness awareness'. This theme adds to the existing literature. As partners moved around and between these phases they experienced different emotions, employed different coping strategies and had experiences of being 'in it together' interchangeably with being 'isolated and alone'. This research concludes that partners' experiences of caring for a loved one with bipolar disorder do not follow a linear, predictable path and as a result, professionals working with caregivers need to be aware of which phases of the 'cycle of changing illness awareness' partners are in when offering interventions. The analysis also suggests that partners cope differently when their loved one is manic and depressed. However, further exploration is still needed.
Supervisor: Primrose, Y. ; Galbraith, N. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Interpretative Phemonological Analysis, Qualitative Research, Bipolar Disorder, Caregivers Experiences, Coping Styles, Caregiver Coping, Illness Awareness, Spousal Caregivers