Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Casey Humphrey

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Second Advisor

Camille Skubik-Peplaski

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Third Advisor

Renee Causey-Upton

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy


Introduction: Following a stroke, an individual may experience physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. For individuals in a marital relationship, the spouse’s life is also impacted post-stroke. The majority of current literature regarding the impact of stroke on marriage focuses on one spouse. This study sought to address this gap by exploring the impact of stroke on the marital dyad.

Method: A qualitative, phenomenological approach was used for this study. Semi-structured phone interviews were conducted. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using Colaizzi’s method as explained by Shosha (2012).

Findings: Four couples, eight participants were included in this study. One main theme emerged as the exhaustive description. Four other themes along with three subthemes were developed that supported this phenomena.

Conclusion: This study found that the daily lives of married couples change drastically post-stroke and it can be difficult for couples to adjust to new ways of life. Occupational therapy can address this adjustment through supporting both the survivor and the caregiver to promote occupational performance and improve the life satisfaction of the couple. These findings also demonstrates a need for an emerging practice area for occupational therapy to address spouses’ new roles as caregiver following a stroke.