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‘My sister won’t have a normal life forever’: Can Bronfenbrenner’s Systems Theory account for personal and family experience with chronic health difficulties?

Russel, Lauren (2013) ‘My sister won’t have a normal life forever’: Can Bronfenbrenner’s Systems Theory account for personal and family experience with chronic health difficulties? Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Because chronic illness, by definition, continues indefinitely it thus becomes part of the individual’s identity. This qualitative investigation focuses on Lola (a 30 year old female who contracted meningitis in 2010 after revision spinal surgery), her close family unit and their collective experiences of chronic illness. The main aims of the study were to uncover the impact of chronic illness on one individual and her family and to explore this in relation to Bronfenbrenner’s systems theory. Three semi-structured interviews along with four narrative accounts were conducted and analysed using thematic analysis. From this, four significant themes were identified, these being: Loss; Denial; Stigma and Stereotypes and; Blame and Responsibility. These findings were in accordance with previous literature into chronic illness and chronic pain with associations being made to Bronfenbrenner’s systems theory.

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