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J Gerontol Nurs. 2002 Dec;28(12):22-30.

Self-transcendent views and behaviors. Exploring growth in caregivers of adults with dementia.

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University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, 1700 Red River, Austin, TX 78701, USA.


Literature suggests difficult life experiences such as fear, loss, and grief can provide an impetus for moving from self-centeredness toward a broader personal identity and self-transcendence. Caring for a family member with dementia may provide the context for such a movement; thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate self-transcendent views and behaviors in family caregivers of adults with dementia. A naturalistic field study design was used to collect data from individuals caring for family members with dementia. Findings showed little evidence of self-transcendent views and behaviors and little opportunity for caregivers to engage in activities that might facilitate self-transcendence. Conclusions of the study reveal social isolation, ambivalence, burden of care, and emotional fragility may inhibit the development of self-transcendence and interfere with healthy growth and development in family caregivers.

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