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Couples with dementia: Positioning the ‘we’
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Health and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, NISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (Center for Dementia Research (CEDER))ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3033-9879
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Social Work. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (Center for Dementia Research (CEDER))
2015 (English)In: Dementia, ISSN 1471-3012, E-ISSN 1741-2684, Vol. 14, no 6, p. 716-733Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to investigate how spouses in couples with dementia position themselves in relation to each other by analysing their use of pronouns, especially the we. The study uses joint interviews with 11 couples. Based on a quantitative analysis of pronoun use, it is argued that the pronoun we is used by all the spouses; however, it is used less frequently by the spouses with dementia in comparison with healthy spouses. A qualitative analysis of the use of the pronoun we shows that the spouses position, experience and consider themselves as a couple and that they position and experience themselves as individuals in relation to the couple. One of the challenges for couples with dementia is to be able to retain a we in face of the progression of the dementia disease. By positioning themselves in various ways, the spouses establish and negotiate quite a complex and emotionally charged web of relationships. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015. Vol. 14, no 6, p. 716-733
Keywords [en]
Dementia, couple, couplehood, we-ness, positioning, pronoun
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-107355DOI: 10.1177/1471301213506923ISI: 000364640800002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-107355DiVA, id: diva2:723588
Projects
CEDER
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, M10-0187:1
Note

Funding agencies: bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, programme Dementia: agency, personhood and everyday life [M10-0187:1]

Available from: 2014-06-11 Created: 2014-06-11 Last updated: 2018-04-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Facing dementia as a we: Investigating couples’ challenges and communicative strategies for managing dementia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Facing dementia as a we: Investigating couples’ challenges and communicative strategies for managing dementia
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Att möta demens som ett vi : En undersökning av pars utmaningar och kommunikativa strategier för att hantera demenssjukdom
Abstract [en]

We live longer than ever before, which means that we also live longer with disorders such as those connected with dementia. Most people diagnosed with dementia live in ordinary housing for a long time, relying on their social network for support, mainly involving spouses or adult children. There is limited research on how families and couples manage daily life with dementia, and social workers may only have knowledge and skills at a general level about older people with the condition.

The aim of this thesis is to investigate how couples manage dementia-related challenges, as well as whether and how these challenges and ways of managing relate to aspects of couples’ we-ness. This aim has been specified in terms of research questions which involve the couples’ communicative management of dementia-related challenges, and how they approach and talk about sensitive topics connected with dementia. An additional question involves how the couples relate to and use their we-ness in managing dementia. Multimodal conversation analytic theory and methodology has been adopted to study sequences from 15 video-recorded joint interviews involving couples where one of the partners had a diagnosis of dementia.

The articles demonstrate how the spouses managed dementia jointly, and how they used their common ground as a couple as an important resource for telling stories and remembering. When the spouses without dementia approached sensitive topics related to dementia, they made use of strategies such as mitigating talk, or touching the partner with dementia as they spoke. The spouses without dementia approached the issue of the future carefully, whereas the spouses with dementia were more direct in the way they talked about the future. A final finding involves the spouses without dementia using strategies such as giving clues or prompting to help their partner with dementia remember. However, this was seldom successful, and may even have had face-threatening effects. Taken together, the different aspects of this thesis emphasise the challenges faced by the couples and the communicative strategies they used, as well as the abilities and agency which surfaced during a micro-level analysis of their interaction. The results are further discussed in the light of implications for social work education, practice and theory, largely highlighting the importance of adopting a couplesensitive approach in which relational and interactional aspects are emphasised.

Abstract [sv]

Vi lever längre än vad vi tidigare gjort, med den effekten att vi också lever längre med sjukdomar som demens. De flesta av de som diagnostiserats med demens bor länge i ordinärt boende och är ofta beroende av sitt sociala nätverk av främst makar eller barn till stöd. Det finns begränsad forskning om hur familjer och par utan formellt stöd hanterar tillvaron, och socialarbetare har ofta generell snarare än specifik kunskap och färdigheter i bemötande av äldre som lever med demens.

Syftet med denna avhandling är att undersöka hur par hanterar demensrelaterade utmaningar, såväl som om och hur dessa relaterar till aspekter av deras vi-skap. För att uppnå detta mål har det specificerats i forskningsfrågor beträffande parens kommunikativa hantering av situationer med demensrelaterade utmaningar, såväl som strategier för att närma sig känsliga ämnen som är kopplade till demens. En ytterligare fråga gäller hur paren relaterar till och använder sig av sitt vi-skap när de hanterar demens. Genom att utgå ifrån multimodal samtalsanalytisk teori och metodik har sekvenser från 15 videoinspelade intervjuer med par där en av partnern har en demensdiagnos studerats.  I artiklarna demonstreras hur partners hanterade demens gemensamt, och hur deras gemensamma grund som ett par var en viktig resurs för att berätta och minnas. När partners utan demens närmade sig känsliga ämnen med anknytning till demens använde de sig av strategier som mildrande prat eller beröring av partnern med demens under berättandet. Partners utan demens närmade sig frågan om framtiden på ett sätt som indikerar känslighet, medan partners med demens var mer direkta i sitt tal om framtiden. En sista konklusion är att partners utan demens använde sig av strategier såsom ledtrådar för att möjliggöra berättande och att minnas för personen med demens, något som sällan hade framgångsrika följder vad det gäller att minnas och kunde till och med få ansiktshotande effekter. Resultaten diskuteras vidare vad gäller implikationer för sociala arbetets utbildning, praktik och teori. Här argumenteras för betydelsen av ett nytt tillvägagångssätt som synliggör parperspektivet, inom vilket relationella och interaktionella aspekter betonas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. p. 137
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 736
Keywords
conversation analysis, couplehood, dementia, epistemics, multimodal interaction, pronouns, relationships, video-recorded interviews, we-ness, “couplehood”, demens, kunskapshantering, multimodal interaktion, pronomen, relationer, samtalsanalys, videoinspelade intervjuer, vi-skap
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147609 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-147609 (DOI)9789176853221 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-01, K1, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Norrköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-04-27 Created: 2018-04-27 Last updated: 2018-05-15Bibliographically approved

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Hydén, Lars-ChristerNilsson, Elin

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