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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Creating a collective narrative with caregivers of a family member with dementia Maier, Kirsten

Abstract

The meaning and sense of self of primary caregivers caring for a family member with dementia was studied in this thesis. Four primary caregivers participated in a narrative research support group. Using a qualitative narrative methodology, based on White (1998) and Myerhoff's (1982) definitional ceremony, individual narratives and a collective narrative of the experiences of caregiving were constructed. Lieblich, Tuval- Mashiach, and Zilber's (1998) whole/content narrative method was used to analyze the individual narratives and collective group data. As was expected from a constructivist perspective, the caregivers made meaning of the changes in their lives on an ongoing basis, and their sense of self was shaped by this meaning. Participating in the research group also contributed to the caregiver's co-construction of meaning and identity in their caregiving. The collective narrative added a new layer to the research the experience of caregiving, was a rich source of learning from primary caregivers and contributed to the participants sense of community.

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