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The experience of couples when one partner has a stroke at a young age: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Disability and Rehabilitation
Issue number20
Volume36
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)1670-1678
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Purpose: Stroke is a major cause of disability worldwide and affects a significant number of working age adults each year. The consequences of stroke impact upon both young stroke survivors and their partners and this study aimed to qualitatively explore their joint experience. Methods: Eight joint semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed using IPA. Results: Three themes were identified: (1) “How’s this happened?” – Making sense of the stroke; (2) “Is this what life is going to be like now?” – From partners to carer and “cared for”; (3) “I lost being a man. I was a little boy, being looked after all the time” – From partners to parent and child. Conclusions: Stroke at a young age can significantly disrupt couples’ life biographies. The findings highlight the need for both partners to adapt to their reciprocal relationship role changes and the importance of addressing the couple as a focus for intervention.Implications for Rehabilitation

Stroke at a young age is an abrupt event that impacts upon both partners in a relationship.

The findings add insight to some of the issues faced by young stroke survivors and their partners, which can now be considered in tailoring treatment to this specific cohort within the context of services predominated by older adults.

The findings highlight significant relationship role changes experienced within couples, which suggests a need for rehabilitation interventions to focus on the adjustment of both partners.