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Maintaining relationship quality in couples living with dementia

Colquhoun, Anna 2017. Maintaining relationship quality in couples living with dementia. ClinPsy Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis investigated couples’ relationship quality where one partner has a diagnosis of dementia. Paper one reports a systematic review of qualitative literature involving both the caring partner and the person living with dementia. This yielded ten studies which were reviewed and rated using a quality appraisal tool. The data extracted from these studies were analysed based on the Double ABCX model of family adaptation and adjustment (McCubbin & Patterson, 1983) to identify how relationship quality is maintained. The utility of this model in understanding the relational experiences of couples was also considered. The findings suggest this model was a useful tool and the results identified couple stressors, resources, coping strategies and appraisals relevant to couple relationship quality maintenance. Paper two describes a qualitative empirical study investigating how couples respond to relational losses to maintain their relationship quality during the early stages of dementia. Ten married, heterosexual couples, where one partner has a diagnosis of a dementia, were interviewed in dyads. The transcripts were analysed according to a constructivist grounded theory methodology, resulting in an overarching theme of ‘turning to and away’, and three master themes: consolidating us; contextual positioning; and living well together. These elucidate some of the processes engaged in by couples to maintain their relationship quality following relational changes and losses. Paper three provides a critical evaluation of the strengths and limitations of the systematic review and empirical paper. This paper includes theoretical considerations, along with the clinical and research implications of the work undertaken. The competencies developed from engaging in the research process are discussed in relation to the skill set of a clinical psychologist.

Item Type: Thesis (DClinPsy)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 September 2017
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2019 03:48

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