Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Education

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Alan Leschied

Abstract

This study examined the grief of spousal caregivers, specifically pertaining to how grief reactions and losses shift over the progression of the Alzheimer disease and related dementias, and how caregivers experience ambiguous loss. Five caregivers of spouses with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias participated in this study, recruited from the Alzheimer’s Society of London and Middlesex and the Alzheimer Outreach Services of McCormick Home. This was a descriptive field study using a qualitative approach to discover each participant’s experiences, which was complimented with two quantitative measures. The findings of this study were consistent with previous research regarding the changes in grief and the existence of ambiguous loss, however, the phases of ambiguous loss, as described in previous research, were expressed as characteristics of the caregiving experience. This study identified a need for a quantitative measure of ambiguous loss to determine how to support caregivers through this distressing feature of caregiving.


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