The paradox of dementia: Changes in assimilation after receiving a diagnosis of dementia

Lishman, E., Cheston, R. and Smithson, J. (2016) The paradox of dementia: Changes in assimilation after receiving a diagnosis of dementia. Dementia, 15 (2). pp. 181-203. ISSN 1471-3012 Available from:

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This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews to explore how six people talked about their difficulties before and after a dementia diagnosis. Participants’ accounts of their memory problems were analysed in terms of the verbal Markers of Assimilation of Problematic Voices Scale (MAPVS). This analysis indicated that after diagnosis some participants were able to integrate aspects of their illness that had previously been too painful, and which had been warded off. The process by which individuals were able to integrate a dementia diagnosis into their sense of self involved stepping in and out of awareness, with both acceptance and denial featuring in their accounts as they approached and then retreated from addressing the diagnosis. In contrast, other participants resisted moving towards discourses which explicitly acknowledged their dementia, but were instead able to express concerns about what this movement would entail, for instance voicing their fears that it would mean that they had surrendered. Social support seems to have been crucial in enabling participants to sustain a positive sense of self in the face of this adjustment.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:assimilation, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, insight, ambivalence, self
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences > Department of Health and Social Sciences
ID Code:24311
Deposited By: Professor R. Cheston
Deposited On:26 Nov 2014 10:02
Last Modified:28 May 2017 02:49

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