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Title: The experience of adjustment to relationship changes in men whose female partners have an acquired brain injury (ABI)
Author: Ferguson, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 9592
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2013
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Background: An ABI and its consequences affect not only the injured person, but also those in relationships with that person, particularly partners and other close relatives. Previous research suggests that an ABI may impact more negatively upon partners than other relatives, but little research has specifically explored the experiences of men. This study explored the experience of adjustment to relationship changes in men whose female partners have an ABI. In particular this study was interested in what changes in their relationship with their partner men have experienced, and how they have adjusted to these changes. Method: A qualitative approach was taken and eight men were interviewed. The data was analysed using thematic analysis from a critical realist epistemological perspective. Findings: Five themes were identified within the data: ‗Initial reactions to the brain injury‘, ―She‘s a lot the same, but she‘s not the same‖, ‗Relationship changing‘, ‗Responsibility and burden‘, and ‗Coping and support‘. Men had experienced wide-ranging and numerous changes in their relationships which impacted upon them emotionally and practically. ‗Just getting on with it‘ was a widely used way of coping, as well as drawing on different sources of support. However, there was an overall sense that men had been left to navigate a frightening and unknown territory without much support or guidance. Conclusions: This study adds to the current literature on the previously neglected and unheard experiences of men whose female partners have an ABI. Future research could explore different aspects of men‘s experiences utilising more in-depth qualitative methodologies. Couples‘ experiences could also be explored by interviewing couple dyads together. Several clinical and policy-level implications have been identified, including increasing ABI awareness, information provision, routine access to support for partners, further curiosity about men‘s support needs, and working systemically in brain injury services.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral