Stroke in young women: an interpretive phenomenological analysis.
Leahy, Dorothy Maria (2010) Stroke in young women: an interpretive phenomenological analysis. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
A comprehensive picture of the psychosocial consequences of stroke in young adults, that is grounded in the experience and perspective of stroke survivors, is currently lacking in the literature. The aim of this research was to explore the experience and psychosocial consequences of stroke amongst young women through semi-structured interviews and qualitative analysis. Individuals who were between 18 and 50 years old, who had experienced a mild to moderate stroke and were are at least six months post-stroke were eligible for inclusion. Individuals with persistent dysphasia, a communication disorder which would result in difficulty in taking part in an interview, were excluded. Accounts of participants‟ experiences were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Four super-ordinate themes emerged from the analysis: (1) Stroke as a disease of the elderly: participants‟ struggled to come to terms with experiencing a disease normally associated with old age. Their shock was mirrored by the reactions of others including medical staff who were reluctant to diagnose stroke in the young. (2) Post-stroke selves: describes the complex task of trying to adapt to a new post-stroke physical and emotional self. Upon reflection on pre-stroke lives more able-bodied physical and cognitive selves were mourned. (3) A desire for peer support: experiencing a disease normally associated with old age made participants‟ feel isolated after their stroke. Participants‟ described their desire to relate to somebody similar with similar, specific concerns. (4) The impact of stroke on relationships: following stroke, patients need a considerable amount of social support, however, too much support can feel suffocating. While some relationships were strengthened, others became problematic. The findings suggest the importance of addressing the specific needs of young stroke patients through provision of age adapted facilities, services and advice.
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