Resilience factors in families caring for a family member diagnosed with dementia

Deist, Melanie (2013-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Dementia is a chronic illness characterised by the progressive deterioration of cognitive functions. Patients diagnosed with dementia are most often cared for by family members. Families caring for dementia patients are faced with tasks that are physically exhausting and psychologically distressing. Nevertheless, some families show resilience and are able to overcome the adversity of the illness. This study aimed to identify and explore the resilience factors these families utilised to rise above the hardships faced when caring for a demented family member. The study was based on McCubbin and McCubbin’s (1996) Family Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment and Adaptation and Walsh’s (2002, 2003) Family Resilience Framework. A mixed-methods approach was followed to collect data from a convenience sample drawn from the Cape Metropolitan area in the Western Cape, South Africa. The study sample comprised of families in which either a spouse (n = 44) was caring for a partner with dementia or adult children (n = 47) were caring for a parent with dementia. The family resilience factors of these subgroups were explored separately and were compared with each other. The quantitative data analysis was conducted using analyses of variance (ANOVA), Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficients, and a best-subsets multiple regression analysis. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic content analysis. These analyses revealed that positive communication patterns, acceptance, optimism, family hardiness, family connectedness, and the effective management of symptoms facilitated family adaptation in both the spouse and child subgroups. Negative patterns of communication within the family was the only variable that was inversely related to family adaptation in both family subgroups. The level of adaptation in the different family subgroups did not differ significantly, but the subgroups did differ slightly in terms of their communication patterns, coping strategies and social support avenues utilised. In addition to expanding the current literature regarding family resilience, the body of information collected in this study could be used to help families caring for dementia patients to create a family environment that maximises adjustment and adaptation. The results could also be used in the development and evaluation of intervention programmes tailored to the needs of these family subgroups.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Demensie is 'n chroniese siekte wat gekenmerk word deur die progressiewe agteruitgang van kognitiewe funksies. Pasiënte wat met demensie gediagnoseer word, word meestal deur familielede versorg. Gesinne wat sorg vir demensiepasiënte word gekonfronteer met take wat fisies uitputtend en sielkundig ontstellend is. Tog toon sommige families volharding en is hulle in staat is om die teëspoed van hierdie siekte te oorkom. Hierdie studie het gepoog om die veerkragtigheidsfaktore te identifiseer en verken wat deur families wat 'n familielid met demensie versorg, aangewend word om bo hulle omstandighede uit te styg. Die studie is gebaseer op McCubbin en McCubbin (1996) se Family Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment and Adaptation en Walsh (2002, 2003) se Family Resilience Framework. Beide kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe data-insamelingsmetodes is in hierdie studie gebruik. 'n Gerieflikheidsteekproef is uit die Kaapse Metropolitaanse gebied in die Wes-Kaap, Suid- Afrika gewerf en het bestaan uit gesinne waarvan eggenote (n = 44) vir hulle eggenoot met demensie sorg of volwasse kinders (n = 47) vir ’n ouer met demensie sorg. Die gesinsveerkragtigheidsfaktore van hierdie subgroepe is afsonderlik ondersoek en met mekaar vergelyk. Die kwantitatiewe data-analise is via variansieontleding (VARO), die berekening van Pearson se produkmoment-korrelasiekoëffisiënte, en beste-subset regressie-analises uitgevoer. Kwalitatiewe data is met behulp van tematiese inhoudanalise ontleed. Hierdie analises het getoon dat positiewe kommunikasiepatrone, aanvaarding van die situasie, optimisme, familie gehardheid, familie verbondenheid, en die doeltreffende bestuur van demensiesimptome familie aanpassing in beide die eggenoot- en kind-subgroepe gefasiliteer het. Negatiewe, opruiende kommunikasiepatrone binne die gesin was die enigste veranderlike wat in beide subgroepe 'n omgekeerde verwantskap met familie aanpassing gehad het. Die vlak van aanpassing in die verskillende familie subgroepe het nie beduidend verskil nie, maar die subgroepe het effens verskil in terme van hulle kommunikasiepatrone, streshanteringstrategieë, en bronne van sosiale ondersteuning. Die resultate van hierdie studie brei uit op die huidige literatuur oor gesinsveerkragtigheid en kan gebruik word om families wat vir demensiepasiënte sorg te help om 'n familie-omgewing te skep wat die gesin se aanpasbaarheid verbeter. Die resultate kan ook gebruik word in die ontwikkeling en evaluering van intervensieprogramme wat die behoeftes van hierdie subgroepe teiken.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80360
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