An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Punjabi Sikhs’ Experience of Caring for a Relative with Dementia

Prof Doc Thesis

Gill, Dalbir 2014. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Punjabi Sikhs’ Experience of Caring for a Relative with Dementia. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsGill, Dalbir
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This study explores the meaning of Punjabi Sikhs’ lived experiences of caring for a relative with dementia. The Department of Health (DoH) recognises that people caring for a person with dementia (PWD) are the most vulnerable of all carers to experiencing psychological problems. Six Punjabi Sikh respondents were recruited and semi-structured interviews conducted. Their accounts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Three themes emerged from this analysis 1) Surface and Depth of Dementia: Confused and Transparent Awareness 2) I’m Stuck and Winded up in Dis-ease and 3) Still I Kept Going: Perseverance as Transcending Limits. These findings indicate that emotional, relational, social, spiritual and physical perceptions of dementia aetiology do not necessarily exclude understanding of dementia as an illness or prevent professional help-seeking or diagnosis. Participant accounts also indicated that personal meaning of caring for a PWD as dis-ease (or as involving limited support) can be transcended through engaging with Sikh specific spiritual concepts such as Seva and Simran. Caring in this context has been found to extend beyond the interpersonal to hold transpersonal meaning. Punjabi Sikh experiential understandings of such phenomena are demonstrated as being synergistic with Counselling Psychology’s therapeutic relationship model. This connection provides scope for professionals to employ a broad conceptualisation of culturally sensitive phenomenological and transpersonal psychological support in this context. The thesis provides tentative guidelines for practice whilst indicating methodological limits to inform provisional suggestions for future research in this area.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintNov 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited01 May 2015
Publisher's version
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