The Experience of Gender in Spousal Caregiving: A Phenomenological Psychological Study (Greece)

Ioanna Zygouri*, Stefanos Mantzoukas, Fiona Cowdell, Mary Gouva, Avraam Ploumis

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose/Objective: To explore how spousal caregivers of older people undergoing rehabilitation experience gender within the Greek community.
    Research method/Design: A psychological phenomenological design and analysis were used to illuminate the unique meanings eleven spousal caregivers attribute to their experience of gender by gathering qualitative data via interviews.
    Results: The data provided an insight into the structure of the experience of gender for the spousal caregivers as a normative diachronic identity in a succession of phases: normative constitution, alienation, and reparation.
    Conclusions/ Implications: The findings highlight the influence of gender stereotypes on spousal caregivers' self-concept, agency, caregiving evaluations, and practices, emphasizing the importance of adopting an intersectional perspective in future research and interventions, considering various factors such as ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, power dynamics, and cultural norms. Spousal caregivers experience alienation on entering the caregiving journey, with gender-related vulnerabilities affecting their psychological well-being. Addressing these vulnerabilities can improve caregivers' mental health and foster effective coping strategies. The study emphasizes the moral aspect of caregiving, highlighting the relationship between a sense of obligation, feelings of guilt, gender norms, and motivations calling for challenging self-sacrificial morals and societal norms associated with them to empower caregivers to prioritize their well-being while maintaining their caregiving motivations. This shift in perspective can lead to a more positive and fulfilling caregiving experience.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRehabilitation Psychology
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 28 Mar 2024


    • Gender, spousal care, rehabilitation, psychological well-being


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