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The impact of dementia on the selfhood and identity of women: a social constructionist approach

Scott, Hannah 2020. The impact of dementia on the selfhood and identity of women: a social constructionist approach. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This study explored the impact of dementia on the identity and selfhood of women. It found that, in describing the changes that had taken place, the initial diagnosis had a varying impact. A range of psychological and emotional responses were expressed. The perception of others was considered, in relation to disclosure or non-disclosure. Self-imposed boundaries were set, as participants altered the ways in which activities central to a sense of self were carried out. Continuity between past and present selves was represented through participants enhancing their lives. A rejection of the threat to selfhood posed by dementia was evidenced by participants preserving their independence and maintaining a positive self-concept. Central to the ability to retain a sense of self was the structure of interpersonal relationships; the collective identity fostered by being a member of a dementia support group, and the ways in which family members and others engaged in positioning. Women and their caregivers discussed the changing landscape of relationships, in terms of relinquished roles and responsibilities and outlook on the future. This thesis used Sabat and Harre’s (1992) framework for a social constructionist approach to selfhood in dementia. 12 women who had a diagnosis of dementia, and seven familial caregivers were recruited to participate in the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, which were then analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The findings contribute to the literature that puts the perspective of the person with dementia at the heart of research. They cast new light on the individual experiences of women, in relation to how selfhood is threatened and maintained in the early stages of the disease.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 August 2020
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2020 11:02

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