Perceived stress in parents and partners of people with head injury : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University

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Massey University
The stress experienced by Parents and Partners of people with head injury has been examined by several authors, especially in relation to a number of clinical issues. There is general agreement between researchers and clinicians alike that relatives of people with head injuries experience heightened stress as a result of the injury and its consequences. The present study sought to examine the stress experienced by Parents and Partners of people with head injury by focussing on minor events, along with several related variables. A single structured interview, including both verbally administered and written response questionnaires was completed with 18 Parents and 13 Partners. Measures included the Daily Hassles and Uplifts Scale, the Arizona Social Support Interview Schedule, questions regarding Role Change, Health Problems and the Information received at the time of hospitalisation. The combined Parents and Partners group indicated that they experienced moderate levels of Stress and Role Change. A relatively small proportion of participants reported experiencing Health Problems. Partners indicated a slightly higher degree of Stress and a greater degree of Role Change than Parents, and a larger proportion of Partners indicated the presence of Health Problems. Qualitative differences between the two groups were found in terms of sources of Stress. There was little quantitative or qualitative difference in Social Support. Positive correlations were found between Stress and Role Change and Stress and Health Problems. Participants indicated that, in general, the information received at the time of hospitalisation was not satisfactory. Their level of understanding and the perception of the adequacy of this information increased over time. The results obtained supported a number of the research hypotheses in showing that some differences do exist between the two groups, although generally these differences were not large. A number of suggestions for future research and service provision arose from the results obtained.
Brain -- Wounds and injuries -- Social aspects, Brain damage -- Patients -- Family relationships, Head -- Wounds and injuries -- Patients -- Family relationships