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A Phenomenological Exploration of Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery As Experienced by Three Couples

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The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of three couples in each of which one of the partners has undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). Previous research has been largely quantitative and focused on discrete dimensions of marital quality, spousal support, or patient and spouse distress. However, few studies explored the experiences of couples as a marital dyad. This study expanded upon previous research to explore couples' experiences of bypass surgery and to examine the possibility of shared meanings about that event. Shared meaning refers to the congruent beliefs that a couple has about their CABG experience (Patterson, 1989; Radley & Green, 1986). Three couples from the Cardiac Wellness Institute of Calgary were interviewed and the transcribed interviews analyzed. The descriptive phenomenological psychological method (Giorgi, 2000) was used to identify the underlying meaning structures of the couples' experiences. The analysis revealed a single structure consisting of seven interrelated constituents describing the psychological essence of the couples' experiences of bypass surgery. The study extended the understanding of what CABG is like for a marital dyad, particularly for medical and psychological practitioners who work with CABG patients and their spouses.

Affiliations: 1: Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center

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