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Using Conjoint Interviews with Couples that have been Living with Disabilities and Illnesses for a Long Time – Implications and Insights
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, NISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2013 (English)In: Qualitative Studies, ISSN 1903-7031, Vol. 4, no 2, 100-113 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article discusses conjoint interviews and takes its starting point from a study with nine older couples who have been living with disabilities for a long period of time. Conjoint interviewing where dyads are interviewed together produces a different kind of data from individual interviews – specifically data that conduce different ways of talking about “we-ness” and produce interaction between the participants. This article discusses how this appeared in a study that was interested in the understandings and actualizations of spousal care when both have a disability or illness. The method leads to an analysis centered on mutuality and has potential to problematize traditional caring tasks and caring roles in the context of living with disability or chronic illness. Potentials and limitations of the method are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Århus: The University and State Library - Aarhus , 2013. Vol. 4, no 2, 100-113 p.
Keyword [en]
couples, conjoint interviews, dyadic methods, spousal care, disability
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-97021OAI: diva2:645079
Forms of care in later life: Agency, Place, Time and Life Course
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2006-1621
Available from: 2013-09-03 Created: 2013-09-03 Last updated: 2014-02-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ageing and Caring as Couples with Disabilities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ageing and Caring as Couples with Disabilities
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In gerontology and care research, care is often studied in ways in which older people and people with disabilities are portrayed as dependent on the care of younger or non-disabled people. This thesis, in contrast, studies care provided by people that are both old and have physical disabilities. The thesis explores how care is actualized and experienced by older couples who both have long-term or lifelong disabilities, and investigates the implications of this caring in the couples’ lives. Nine couples between 60 and 84 years old, of whom most had had disabilities for over 20 years, were interviewed as dyads; a process also conjoint interviewing. These interviews were analysed using grounded theory methods of coding and constant comparison. The results of the thesis confirm that it can make sense to be a carer even if one also needs care in everyday life. The analysis considers how conjoint interviewing resulted in relational and performative data about mutual care. The study helps explain the significance helping a partner despite having other sources of formal support and the difficulties of providing this help oneself. Finally, in a study whose participants are growing old together with disabilities, the results also show that the couples could regard themselves as ageing advantageously compared to other groups. Through its focus on caring for and by older people with disabilities, this thesis is at the intersection of social gerontology, care research and disability studies. However, from its interdisciplinary perspective, it can also challenge established discourses in these fields. Specifically, the study problematizes the absence of a care discourse in disability studies and the mostly age- and function-coded ways in which care is discussed in care research. The thesis problematizes dichotomies used in understanding care, such as roles of carers/care receiver and caring/servicing. It also challenges established ways of thinking about successful ageing. Lastly, the thesis contributes to the still growing literature on ageing with a disability.

Abstract [sv]

Gerontologin och omsorgsforskningen beskriver oftast äldre och personer med funktionshinder som mottagare av omsorg från yngre personer eller personer utan funktionshinder. Denna avhandling studerar däremot det omsorgsarbete som utförs av äldre personer med fysiska funktionshinder. Avhandlingen behandlar hur omsorg kan se ut och hur den kan förstås hos par där båda har levt långa liv med fysiska funktionshinder. Den studerar också vad den ömsesidiga omsorgen kan ha för innebörder i parens liv. Nio par mellan 60 och 84 års ålder, där många har haft funktionshinder i 20 år eller mer, intervjuades tillsammans som ett par, i s.k. conjoint interviews (parintervjuer). Analysen gjordes med hjälp av analytiska verktyg från grundad teori. Avhandlingens resultat visar att det går att vara omsorgsgivare trots att man själv har omfattande omsorgsbehov. Analysen beaktar emellertid också hur parintervjuerna kan ha bidragit till dessa berättelser av ömsesidig omsorg. Betydelsen av att kunna fortsätta att ge hjälp till en partner trots tillgång till den formella hjälpapparaten och egna svårigheter att ge hjälp diskuteras. Och till sist, trots att informanterna åldras med sina funktionshinder, visar resultaten på att paren anser sig själva att ha ett gott åldrande, och till och med bättre åldrande än andra grupper. Avhandingen befinner sig i gränslandet mellan socialgerontologi, omsorgs-forskning och funktionshinderforskning. Men genom den interdisciplinära ansatsen har några av de etablerade diskurserna inom dessa fält kunnat utmanas. En omsorgsdiskurs har länge saknats i  funktionshindersammanhang. Där har istället autonomi och oberoende stått i fokus. Avhandlingens resultat bidrar till en problematisering av de underliggande dikotomier som omsorgsbegreppet bygger på, såsom omsorgsgivare/omsorgstagare och omsorg/personlig service. Resultaten problematiserar också etablerade begrepp inom socialgerontologin som successful ageing (framgångsrikt åldrande eller det goda åldrandet). Till sist bidrar avhandlingen till den nu växande forskningen om att åldras med funktionshinder.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 82 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 604
Care, physical disability, ageing, older couples, conjoint interviews, Omsorg, funktionshinder, åldrande, äldre par, parintervjuer
National Category
Social Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-104808 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-104808 (DOI)978-91-7519-410-3 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-03-21, K3, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Linköpings universitet, Norrköping, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-02-27 Created: 2014-02-27 Last updated: 2014-02-27Bibliographically approved

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Torgé, Cristina Joy
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