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Title:Adapting to the new normal: The process of relational change after stroke within romantic dyads
Author(s):Abendschein, Bryan
Director of Research:Knobloch, Leanne
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Knobloch, Leanne
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Henry, Dawn; Caughlin, John; Lammers, John; McDermott, Monica; Ogolsky, Brian
Department / Program:Communication
Discipline:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Interpersonal Communication
Health Communication
Stroke
Relationships
Romantic Relationships
Uncertainty
Uncertainty Management
Qualitative Research
Qualitative Analysis
Interviews
Identity
Abstract:Brain injury can introduce serious life changes for the survivor and those responsible for care. Stroke, a specific form of brain injury, has been shown to impact communication (e.g., Fridriksson, Fillmore, Guo, & Rorden, 2015) and alter behavior (e.g., Fann, Uomoto, & Katon, 2000), both of which have individual and relational consequences (see Anderson & Keating, 2017). The current study extends the literature on life after stroke by highlighting the shared experiences of relational partners post-stroke. For this study, I gathered sensitizing concepts from the uncertainty in illness theory (Mishel, 1988), the uncertainty management theory (Brashers, 2001), and relational turbulence theory (Solomon, Knobloch, Theiss, & McLaren, 2016) to investigate how couples navigated the illness trajectory after a stroke. I focused specifically on the experience of uncertainty and relational changes that individuals associated with the stroke. I utilized the pragmatic iterative approach (Tracy, 2013) to analyze the interviews I collected from 22 stroke survivors and 22 caregiving partners (complete couples N = 20). My results led to a model of relational changes after stroke within romantic dyads that showed couples often experienced a shift in how they saw themselves, their partner, and the relationship after the stroke. Survivors and caregiving partners also reported an ongoing sense of uncertainty that they associated with the stroke. For couples in this study, managing life after stroke involved a process of acceptance and adaptation. These findings challenge existing theory by highlighting the dyadic experience of illness and the similarities between how survivors and their partners navigate life after a stroke. The current study also suggests that more education about stroke in general, and the influence on couples specifically, is needed at the professional and community levels.
Issue Date:2018-09-06
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/102397
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Bryan Abendschein
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-02-06
Date Deposited:2018-12


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