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A qualitative longitudinal case study of a daughter's adaptation process to her father's aphasia and stroke

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Background: Aphasia has repercussions on the lives of families who adjust to the new situation of their parent. Most data concerning how family members adapt to aphasia concern spouses, and less so children. However, adult children are likely to encounter specific problems because of the different nature of parent-child relationships. Aims: This study aimed to describe the experience of a daughter's adaptation process to her father's stroke and aphasia during the first year post-stroke. Methods & Procedures: A qualitative approach was employed to explore the experience of one individual recounted in the context of face-to-face interviews. The participant was a 31-year-old woman living with her parents at the time her father became aphasic at the age of 60 years. Three interviews were conducted: (1) when her father began outpatient rehabilitation, (2) near the end of outpatient rehabilitation, and (3) three months later. Outcomes & Results: Results revealed that the sources of stress for this participant evolved over time from initial concerns for her father's survival and health, to preoccupations concerning her father's communication and their relationship, and lastly to concerns about how her own life had been altered. In reaction to stress the participant was proactive, obtained information, modified her communication with him, and oversaw his health and treatments. Over time some of the negative consequences diminished and more positive indicators emerged. The strategies the participant employed allowed her to feel she did the right thing, and also she preserved her self-esteem. However, at the last interview she still suffered from the changes in her relationship with her father and their communication restrictions. Conclusions: The results indicate that the experience of a daughter was an evolving process, involving negative and more positive consequences. The process of adaptation was influenced by the particular life situation of this participant, her perception of stresses, and the types of strategies she employed. These results show that children may be stressed by many changes associated with a stroke, such as communication limitations. When possible, adult children should be included in the rehabilitation process since they provide skills, abilities, and affection in caring for their parent with aphasia. These may contribute to the reduction of overall stress related to a family's adaptation to the consequences of aphasia and stroke.

Keywords: Adaptation; Aphasia; Coping; Family; Qualitative research; Stress

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02687030801890909

Affiliations: Orthophonie & audiologie, Faculte de Medecine, Universite de Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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