Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Men Giving Care: Reflections of Husbands and Sons

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Men Giving Care: Reflections of Husbands and Sons

Article excerpt

Men Giving Care: Reflections of Husbands and Sons. Phyllis Braudy Harris & Joyce Bichler. New York: Garland. 1997. 223 pp. ISBN 08153-1792-1. $61.00 cloth.

Men Giving Care, by Phyllis Brandy Harris and Joyce Bichler, is a significant addition to the literature on male caregiving and dementia. It reports the results of a qualitative interview study that focused on 30 husbands and 30 sons who provided care to a relative with dementia. One of the most interesting results was that there were fewer similarities across these two groups, of caregivers than expected. Sons' caregiving experiences were more conflicted, complex, and diverse. Thus, scholars and practitioners must regard husband and son caregivers as distinct groups, with somewhat unique emotional, physical, and social situations, limitations, and responses.

Common themes and shared experiences of the husbands included commitment, reactions to the diagnosis, a range of emotions (primarily anger, frustration, pain, despondency, and compassion), social isolation, losses, the significance of cooking, coping strategies, the role of children, meaning and a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment, and hope. A five-fold typology consisted of the worker, labor of love, sense of duty, going it together (with their wives), and men in transition. Service implications included recommendations for support groups and social networking, educational programs for caregivers, professionals, friends, and colleagues, and respite and related services and supports.

With regard to sons, the demographic variables found to be most predictive of filial caregiving in larger studies were not replicated, perhaps due to the small, nonrandom sample. …

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