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Experiences of Living with a Partner with Depression: A Thematic Analysis

Priestley, Jemma (2015) Experiences of Living with a Partner with Depression: A Thematic Analysis. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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According to the Office of National Statistics (2011), approximately six million people provide unpaid care to a family member. The growth of interest in the carer role has helped establish the idea that the provision of informal care warrants attention because of the relationship between caring and burden. It has been suggested that living with someone with depression is comparable to that of other serious mental health problems, such as schizophrenia or dementia. Furthermore, there is evidence that partners are most at risk of burden within the informal caregiving context. The meta-ethnography of existing research indicates that qualitative studies which specifically explore the experiences of living with a family member with depression are somewhat heterogeneous regarding types of relationship with the depressed individual. Combining different relationships (e.g. partners, siblings and parents) within the same study makes it difficult to disentangle data and therefore gaining an in-depth understanding of specific experiences is almost impossible. This study therefore aimed to explore the experiences of living with a partner with depression. In-depth interviews were conducted with nine female and four male participants who live with a partner with depression. A critical realist perspective was held and data was analysed using Braun and Clarke’s six phases of thematic analysis (2006), with the assistance of MAXQDA. Results identified five key themes: ‘making sense of the depression’; ‘the depression cannot be compartmentalised’; ‘a light at the end of the tunnel’; ‘learning to navigate the ‘depression’ maze’; and ‘gaining a new perspective’. The findings illustrate that living with a partner with depression is not a static process and that the needs of the depressed partner are constantly changing. Furthermore, although the findings outline a sequential process that appears cyclical in nature, recognition is given that the phases are dynamic and may overlap. Clinical implications and recommendations are discussed within the context of the Care Act (2014).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA790 Mental Health
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
Depositing User: Jemma Priestley
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2016 15:40
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2016 15:40

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