Adjustment and coping in spousal caregivers following a traumatic spinal cord injury: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Adele Dickson, Grainne O'Brien, Richard Ward, Paul Flowers, David Allan, Ronan O'Carroll

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 spousal caregivers to people with a traumatic spinal cord injury and were subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Here, we present two inter-related master themes: (1) coping with the spousal caregiver role; and (2) putting the pieces back together again. Within these, the analysis describes how regular venting of emotion, social support and focusing on the positive aspects of the situation all promoted coping. Adjustment was reportedly hindered by the introduction of paid caregivers as this represented a loss of privacy and power for the participants. The findings are discussed in relation to the wider literature and recommendations for future caregiver support are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • adjustment
  • coping
  • IPA
  • partner caregiver
  • spinal cord injury

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