The experience of being a partner to a spinal cord injured person: A phenomenological-hermeneutic study

Sanne Angel, Niels Buus

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25 Citations (Scopus)


This qualitative interview study focuses on the personal experiences of partners to a spinal cord injured person. Using a Ricoeurian phenomenological-hermeneutic approach, we analysed seven partners' narratives 1 and 2 years after their partner's injury. The study revealed how the injury was experienced from the partners' perspective through the aftermath. In the acute phase after the injury, partners also felt harmed, and support was needed in relation to their own daily activities, eating, resting, and managing distress. During the institutionalized rehabilitation, partners felt torn between supporting the injured partner and the demanding tasks of everyday life outside the institution. After discharge, partners struggled for the injured partner to regain a well-functioning everyday life and for reestablishing life as a couple. The partner struggled to manage the overwhelming amount of everyday tasks. Some sought to reestablish their usual functions outside the family, whereas others focused on establishing a new life together. The partners experienced much distress and appreciated the support they got, but felt that they were mainly left to manage the difficult process on their own.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7199
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Interviews as topic
  • Narration
  • Rehabilitation
  • Social support
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Spouses

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