Losing an Identical Co-twin in Older Adulthood: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Prof Doc Thesis

Dookhun, Miriam 2016. Losing an Identical Co-twin in Older Adulthood: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.5629
AuthorsDookhun, Miriam
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This is a qualitative study exploring the experience of the loss of an identical co-twin
in older adulthood. Ten participants were recruited for the study through the biggest
twin registry in the United Kingdom (UK): TwinsUK. All ten were interviewed, and
transcripts of the interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological
Analysis (IPA).
Five key themes, referred to in this study as ‘master themes’, emerged from the
analysis: The Twin Relationship, Embodiment, Separation, Preservation of a
Connection, and Grief Comparisons. The analysis highlighted two central ideas:
embodiment and identity.
The study aligns with several existing frameworks for understanding twins and
bereavement, including a unit identity and feelings of a loss of part of the self with the
bereavement. The study also supports ideas about embodied grief, continuing bonds
with the deceased, and co-twin loss being worse than other kinds of losses.
Some distinctive contributions to Counselling Psychology and the understanding of
bereavement are seen, for example a violent dimension within embodied grief is
highlighted. In addition there are aspects of continuing bonds with the deceased in cotwin
relationships that differ from continuing bonds in other relationships.
Furthermore, co-twin loss was felt by some participants to be worse than other types
of losses. This last finding has also arisen in previous research, and this study sheds
some light on why research participants have felt this way.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.5629
Publication dates
PrintDec 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Feb 2017
Publisher's version
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