Young onset dementia as experienced by family members

Regan, Daryl (2020) Young onset dementia as experienced by family members. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Young onset dementia (YOD) is estimated to make up around 5% of dementia diagnoses (Prince et al., 2014). Obtaining a diagnosis can be complex, with multiple diagnostic pathways. Partners of those with YOD are often involved; however, little is known about their experience of the pre-diagnostic phase from initial symptom recognition to diagnosis seeking.


To explore partners’ experiences of the pre-diagnostic phase of YOD. Specifically, the study aimed to analyse how partners make sense of being involved in the process of seeking help from healthcare services.


The study utilised a retrospective qualitative design. Seven partners of individuals diagnosed with YOD within the last three years, were recruited from a community Young Onset Dementia Service within NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde. Semi-structured interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.


Three superordinate themes were identified from partners’ experiences: ‘changing relationship with partner’, ‘challenging relationship with healthcare services’ and ‘conflicted relationship with the diagnosis’.


The findings provide valuable insights into partners’ experiences of the pre-diagnostic phase of YOD. Themes discussed offer healthcare providers factors to consider when designing and providing services for those with YOD and their partners. Further research exploring experiences of partners with different characteristics would be helpful in generating further knowledge to inform service development.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Young onset dementia, partners' experiences, dementia.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: White, Dr. Naomi
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Miss Daryl Regan
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81693
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2020 08:22
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2022 08:49
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81693

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