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Tvillingskap genom livet: individualitet och relation i äldre tvillingars livsberättelser
Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ, Institute of Gerontology. Jönköping University, School of Health Science, HHJ. Ageing - living conditions and health.
2012 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Det övergripande syftet med avhandlingen var att utforska, beskriva och förstå upplevelser av tvillingskap utifrån äldre tvillingars livsberättelser. De 35 tvillingarna som ingår i denna avhandling var ett urval av deltagarna i två longitudinella studier av äldre tvillingar, SATSA (Swedish Adoption Twin Study of Aging) och Gender. Studiedesignen är kvalitativ och vid intervjuerna användes narrativ metod och berättelsematerialet analyserades med narrativ analys (studie I och II) och med kvalitativ, latent innehållsanalys (studie III och IV).

Enligt tvillingarna i denna avhandling beskrevs tvillingskapet utifrån relationen med tvillingpartnern (I, III, IV) och ur ett identitetsperspektiv (II). Tvillingrelationer är unika men representerar också variationer. Tre slags relationsmönster identifierades, benämnda den närande, tärande och den ytliga relationen som baseras på kvalitativa aspekter (I). De olika typerna av relationer blev särskilt tydliga under viktiga skeden i livet, såsom vid ingående av äktenskap (III) och vid förlusten av tvillingpartnern (IV), vilket innebar att tvillingarna fick anpassa sig till ett mer individualiserat liv. I den närande och den ytliga tvillingrelationen upplevdes inte dessa livsförändringar som särskilt dramatiska, medan de för tvillingarna i den tärande relationen upplevdes som mer dramatiska. Från ett anknytningsteoriskt perspektiv förblev de äldre tvillingarna ankytningspersoner med oförändrade anknytningsmönster genom livet (I). Sammanbundet med den nära tvillingrelationen är hur tvillingar definerar sig själva, då tvillingskapet innebär att hantera både sin individuella identitet och tvillingidentiteten. Självbeskrivningarna med betoning av olikheter, ses mot bakgrund av hur tvillingarna upplevde att omgivningen uppfattade dem som en social enhet och tolkades som en vilja att betona sin individualitet i förhållande till tvillingpartnern och som ett budskap till omgivningen att vilja bli sedd som en egen individ (II).

Sammanfattningsvis beskrevs tvillingskap av de flesta som en nära, berikande relation genom livet och för vissa mindre berikande beroende på vilken slags relation de hade till sin tvillingpartner. Parallellt pågick ett identitetsarbete att ta plats som en egen individ i tvillingrelationen och att hävda sin individualitet gentemot den övriga omgivningen i budskapet: ”Vi är inte så lika som ni tror”!

Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to explore, describe and understand experiences of twinship as told in the life stories of older twins. The 35 older twins who participated in this thesis were part of two longitudinal studies of older twins, SATSA (the Swedish Adoption Twin Study of Aging) and the Gender study. The study design is qualitative and the 35 interviews were collected using a narrative method. The life stories were analysed with narrative analysis (studies I and II) and qualitative, latent content analysis (studies III and IV).

According to the twins in this thesis, twinship, was described from the relationship with the co-twin(I, III, IV) and from an identity perspective (II). Twin relationships are unique and different in their own way. Three relationship patterns were identified and labelled as: nurturing, draining or superficial based on qualitative aspects (I). The differences in the three relationship patterns became even more evident during critical stages in life, for example, when getting married (III) or losing the co-twin through death (IV). These events became turning points which meant that the twins needed to adjust to a more individualized life. Twins in nurturing or superficial relationship patterns did not experience these transitions as particularly dramatic, while for twins in draining relationships these life transitions were more dramatic. From an attachment theory point of view, the older twins remained attachment figures with an unaltered attachment pattern throughout life(I). Bound together with the close twin relationship is how twins define themselves, since the twinship means handling both your individual identity and the twin identity. The self-descriptions, with emphasis on differences, are viewed against the background of how the twins experienced the environment perceiving them as a social unity and were interpreted as a desire to emphasize ones individuality as related to the twin partner and as a message to the environment of desiring to be viewed as a unique individual (II).

In summary twinship was described by most as a close, enriching relationship throughout life and for some, less enriching depending on what kind of relationship they had with their twin partner. An identity work was at the same time taking place, trying to establish a position as an individual in the twin relationship and to assert ones individuality to the rest of the environment in the message:“We are not as alike as you think!”

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping, School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University: School of Health Sciences , 2012. , 48 p.
Series
Hälsohögskolans avhandlingsserie, ISSN 1654-3602 ; 31
Keyword [sv]
tvillingskap, tvillingrelation, livsberättelser, individualitet, äktenskap, sorg
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-18363ISBN: 987-91-85835-30-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-18363DiVA: diva2:531963
Public defence
2012-06-15, Forum Humanun, Hälsohögskolan, Jönköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-06-08 Created: 2012-06-08 Last updated: 2015-10-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Older twins' experiences of the relationship with their co-twin over the life course
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Older twins' experiences of the relationship with their co-twin over the life course
2012 (English)In: Journal of Aging Studies, ISSN 0890-4065, E-ISSN 1879-193X, Vol. 26, no 2, 119-128 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Based on 35 life stories of aging twins, this study focuses on personal experiences and recollections of their relationships with the co-twin over the life course. The participants are part of two longitudinal Swedish twin studies on aging, SATSA and Gender. In the narrative analysis, three relationship patterns, labeled ‘nurturing’, ‘draining’, and ‘superficial’, emerged, pointing to qualitative aspects in the co-twin relationship. The dominating aspect was emotional closeness, which differed in the three relationship patterns. In the nurturing twin relationship pattern, emotional closeness was experienced as intimacy and yet independence, while in the draining relationship pattern it was experienced as dependence. The superficial twin relationship was experienced as distant and lacking in emotional involvement. Most of the relationship patterns seemed to remain the same throughout life. However, seen from a life course perspective, this study pointed to complexity and diversity in lifelong twin relationships.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
USA: Elsevier, 2012
Keyword
aging, life-course, narrative analysis, twinship
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-17049 (URN)10.1016/j.jaging.2011.10.002 (DOI)000301899900002 ()
Available from: 2012-01-11 Created: 2012-01-11 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. 'We are not as alike, as you think' sense of individuality within the co-twin relationship along the life course
Open this publication in new window or tab >>'We are not as alike, as you think' sense of individuality within the co-twin relationship along the life course
2013 (English)In: Journal of Aging Studies, ISSN 0890-4065, E-ISSN 1879-193X, Vol. 27, no 4, 339-346 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We have explored how older twins experience and describe themselves in relation to their co-twin. The life stories of 20 older twins were analyzed with narrative analysis.

Results showed that the twins described themselves from the point of differences in relation to the co-twin. This was based on experiences of how other people viewed them as alike, as well as on life events along the life course, which contributed to the perception of oneself as an individual in relation to the co-twin. The emphasis on unlikeness was therefore interpreted as a way of trying to establish a position as an individual within the co-twin relationship and to assert ones individuality to the rest of the social environment. To claim oneself as an individual was an ongoing identity work along the life course.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013
Keyword
aging, identity, individuality, life stories, twins
National Category
Social Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-18357 (URN)10.1016/j.jaging.2013.08.001 (DOI)
Projects
Tvillingskap genom livet - individualitet och relation i äldre tvillingars livsberättelser
Available from: 2012-06-08 Created: 2012-06-08 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Twinship and Marriage: Experiences during the course of twin relationships
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Twinship and Marriage: Experiences during the course of twin relationships
2012 (English)In: Review of European Studies, ISSN 1918-7173, E-ISSN 1918-7181, Vol. 4, no 4, 45-53 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to explore and describe older twins’ experiences of their marriages in relation to the co-twin relationship.

Material and Methods: The material consisted of 34 life story interviews with older twins (70+), representing various experiences of twinship and marriage. The data was analysed with qualitative latent content analysis.

Results: Phases of marriage describe the time of Courtship - partners were chosen based on infatuation. Most were non-related, but some were relatives or friends. Twinship and quality of married life showed that marriages were either disharmonious or harmonious. The most common cause of conflicts was spouses not getting along, second common cause to conflicts was the twin relationship itself. In the harmonious marriages, the spouses were sympathetic and accepting of the twin relationship. In later life 14 of 34 were widowed and 7 of 34 had gone through a divorce. The most common cause of divorce was an unfaithful spouse, rather than the close relationship with the co-twin. In difficult times the twin relationship served as a source of comfort and support.

Conclusions: The most harmonious marriages were with spouses related to one another. In this way the twins could keep both the twin relationship and have a marriage. Since twins often regard each other as attachment figures, the combination of twinship and marriage seem to be a challenge for the spouse to be most of all.

National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-18351 (URN)10.5539/res.v4n4p45 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-06-08 Created: 2012-06-08 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
4. Images of sorrow: Experiences of losing a co-twin in old age
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Images of sorrow: Experiences of losing a co-twin in old age
2013 (English)In: Health, ISSN 1949-4998, E-ISSN 1949-5005, Vol. 5, no 12A, 64-73 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What it is like when a lifelong twin relationship ends through death in later life is the focus of this study. It draws on interview data from seven twins who are part of a longitudinal Swedish twin study (SATSA) and who lost their co-twins in old age. Data were analyzed using qualitative latent content analysis. The results showed that the experience of loss of the co-twin was pro-found, including an emotional as well as a be-havioral dimension. Loss and loneliness were expressed as the dominant feelings related to the quality of the missing relationship as well as the loss of twin identity. However, the grief ex-periences in this study were primarily related to the closeness and quality of the twin relation-ship, rather than identity. Behavioral adjust-ments included the use of outside as well as internal cognitive resources to cope with life after the loss. Despite the devastating experi-ence of losing a co-twin after a lifelong rela-tionship, the participants engaged actively in their own grief processes. It was concluded that twin loss is unique, in the sense of losing the relational twin identity, as well as it is charac-terized by similar features as the loss of a close relationship among non-twins.

Keyword
aging, content analysis, sibling death, twin loss
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-18361 (URN)10.4236/health.2013.512A009 (DOI)
Projects
tvillingskap genom livet - individualitet och relation i äldre tvillingars livsberättelser
Available from: 2012-06-08 Created: 2012-06-08 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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