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Selected Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Nursing




School of Nursing and Health Sciences


According to the World Health Organization, 250,000 to 500,000 people worldwide have suffered a spinal cord injury. Significant others may become caregivers responsible for meeting the needs of the dependent partner. The focus of this study is on significant other caregivers’ experiences providing care for partners after a spinal cord injury. The effects of stress from providing care may be detrimental to caregivers' psychological and physical well-being. Psychological distress, such as anxiety and depression in caregivers, is a significant public health issue that affects the quality of life for millions of individuals. There is a lack of studies focusing on the lived experiences of significant other caregivers in committed relationships with partners after a spinal cord injury. It is not known how caregivers navigate changes in their relationships and lives. Hence, a qualitative research study was conducted guided by a descriptive phenomenological methodology. The purpose of this study was to explore caregivers’ experiences. To add to nursing knowledge, the research question is, what is the lived experience of significant other caregivers who provide care to partners surviving a spinal cord injury? Through analysis of in-depth interviews with significant other caregivers via Zoom, a detailed description, and essence of their lived experiences were investigated. Nurses must know the caregivers’ lived experiences to adequately provide anticipatory guidance. Purposive sampling and snowballing were used to recruit participants from online support groups and/or collegial referrals. The online groups were comprised of various significant others who are primary caregivers for partners with a spinal cord injury. Meleis’ transitions theory provided a framework for this study. Data analysis was conducted using Colaizzi’s method of member checking. Results were reviewed after data collection and analysis.

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Nursing Commons