Risk, Uncertainty and Life Threatening Trauma: Analysing Stroke Survivor's Accounts of Life After Stroke

Andy Alaszewski, Helen Alaszewski, Jonathan Potter


This paper examines the ways in which stroke survivors identify and manage the risks and uncertainties of their situation. It draws on interview data from a UK study in East Kent of 31 stroke survivors (aged between 38 and 89 years). The interviews created accounts based on the experience of stroke and post stroke recovery. Stroke survivors experienced their stroke as an unanticipated event in which there was a failure of foresight. The stroke undermined their ontological security and increased their awareness of and anxiety about everyday activities both in and outside the home, created awareness of a new danger, that of having another potentially fatal stroke, and could damage their social standing. Survivors used a variety of strategies to manage such uncertainties. They shortened their time horizons, either abandoning longer-term plans or discussing them in very vague and general terms. They concentrated either on the present, "taking each day as it comes" or developed goals to structure the short-term future. These short-term goals involved challenges and there was in some cases the possibility of a harmful outcome. Such voluntary risk-taking provided an opportunity for "centre work" which could re-establish the stroke survivors social standing.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0601189


stroke; stroke recovery; risk; risk-taking; time; uncertainty

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-7.1.53

Copyright (c) 2006 Andy Alaszewski, Helen Alaszewski, Jonathan Potter

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