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Images of sorrow: Experiences of losing a co-twin in old age
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Institute of Gerontology. Mälardalen University.
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Dep. of Behavioural Science and Social Work. Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. SALVE (Social challenges, Actors, Living conditions, reseach VEnue).
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Dep. of Rehabilitation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3594-4805
2013 (English)In: Health, ISSN 1949-4998, E-ISSN 1949-5005, Vol. 5, no 12A, 64-73 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What it is like when a lifelong twin relationship ends through death in later life is the focus of this study. It draws on interview data from seven twins who are part of a longitudinal Swedish twin study (SATSA) and who lost their co-twins in old age. Data were analyzed using qualitative latent content analysis. The results showed that the experience of loss of the co-twin was pro-found, including an emotional as well as a be-havioral dimension. Loss and loneliness were expressed as the dominant feelings related to the quality of the missing relationship as well as the loss of twin identity. However, the grief ex-periences in this study were primarily related to the closeness and quality of the twin relation-ship, rather than identity. Behavioral adjust-ments included the use of outside as well as internal cognitive resources to cope with life after the loss. Despite the devastating experi-ence of losing a co-twin after a lifelong rela-tionship, the participants engaged actively in their own grief processes. It was concluded that twin loss is unique, in the sense of losing the relational twin identity, as well as it is charac-terized by similar features as the loss of a close relationship among non-twins.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 5, no 12A, 64-73 p.
Keyword [en]
aging, content analysis, sibling death, twin loss
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-18361DOI: 10.4236/health.2013.512A009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-18361DiVA: diva2:531956
Projects
tvillingskap genom livet - individualitet och relation i äldre tvillingars livsberättelser
Available from: 2012-06-08 Created: 2012-06-08 Last updated: 2016-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Tvillingskap genom livet: individualitet och relation i äldre tvillingars livsberättelser
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tvillingskap genom livet: individualitet och relation i äldre tvillingars livsberättelser
2012 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Det övergripande syftet med avhandlingen var att utforska, beskriva och förstå upplevelser av tvillingskap utifrån äldre tvillingars livsberättelser. De 35 tvillingarna som ingår i denna avhandling var ett urval av deltagarna i två longitudinella studier av äldre tvillingar, SATSA (Swedish Adoption Twin Study of Aging) och Gender. Studiedesignen är kvalitativ och vid intervjuerna användes narrativ metod och berättelsematerialet analyserades med narrativ analys (studie I och II) och med kvalitativ, latent innehållsanalys (studie III och IV).

Enligt tvillingarna i denna avhandling beskrevs tvillingskapet utifrån relationen med tvillingpartnern (I, III, IV) och ur ett identitetsperspektiv (II). Tvillingrelationer är unika men representerar också variationer. Tre slags relationsmönster identifierades, benämnda den närande, tärande och den ytliga relationen som baseras på kvalitativa aspekter (I). De olika typerna av relationer blev särskilt tydliga under viktiga skeden i livet, såsom vid ingående av äktenskap (III) och vid förlusten av tvillingpartnern (IV), vilket innebar att tvillingarna fick anpassa sig till ett mer individualiserat liv. I den närande och den ytliga tvillingrelationen upplevdes inte dessa livsförändringar som särskilt dramatiska, medan de för tvillingarna i den tärande relationen upplevdes som mer dramatiska. Från ett anknytningsteoriskt perspektiv förblev de äldre tvillingarna ankytningspersoner med oförändrade anknytningsmönster genom livet (I). Sammanbundet med den nära tvillingrelationen är hur tvillingar definerar sig själva, då tvillingskapet innebär att hantera både sin individuella identitet och tvillingidentiteten. Självbeskrivningarna med betoning av olikheter, ses mot bakgrund av hur tvillingarna upplevde att omgivningen uppfattade dem som en social enhet och tolkades som en vilja att betona sin individualitet i förhållande till tvillingpartnern och som ett budskap till omgivningen att vilja bli sedd som en egen individ (II).

Sammanfattningsvis beskrevs tvillingskap av de flesta som en nära, berikande relation genom livet och för vissa mindre berikande beroende på vilken slags relation de hade till sin tvillingpartner. Parallellt pågick ett identitetsarbete att ta plats som en egen individ i tvillingrelationen och att hävda sin individualitet gentemot den övriga omgivningen i budskapet: ”Vi är inte så lika som ni tror”!

Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to explore, describe and understand experiences of twinship as told in the life stories of older twins. The 35 older twins who participated in this thesis were part of two longitudinal studies of older twins, SATSA (the Swedish Adoption Twin Study of Aging) and the Gender study. The study design is qualitative and the 35 interviews were collected using a narrative method. The life stories were analysed with narrative analysis (studies I and II) and qualitative, latent content analysis (studies III and IV).

According to the twins in this thesis, twinship, was described from the relationship with the co-twin(I, III, IV) and from an identity perspective (II). Twin relationships are unique and different in their own way. Three relationship patterns were identified and labelled as: nurturing, draining or superficial based on qualitative aspects (I). The differences in the three relationship patterns became even more evident during critical stages in life, for example, when getting married (III) or losing the co-twin through death (IV). These events became turning points which meant that the twins needed to adjust to a more individualized life. Twins in nurturing or superficial relationship patterns did not experience these transitions as particularly dramatic, while for twins in draining relationships these life transitions were more dramatic. From an attachment theory point of view, the older twins remained attachment figures with an unaltered attachment pattern throughout life(I). Bound together with the close twin relationship is how twins define themselves, since the twinship means handling both your individual identity and the twin identity. The self-descriptions, with emphasis on differences, are viewed against the background of how the twins experienced the environment perceiving them as a social unity and were interpreted as a desire to emphasize ones individuality as related to the twin partner and as a message to the environment of desiring to be viewed as a unique individual (II).

In summary twinship was described by most as a close, enriching relationship throughout life and for some, less enriching depending on what kind of relationship they had with their twin partner. An identity work was at the same time taking place, trying to establish a position as an individual in the twin relationship and to assert ones individuality to the rest of the environment in the message:“We are not as alike as you think!”

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping, School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University: School of Health Sciences, 2012. 48 p.
Series
Hälsohögskolans avhandlingsserie, ISSN 1654-3602 ; 31
Keyword
tvillingskap, tvillingrelation, livsberättelser, individualitet, äktenskap, sorg
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-18363 (URN)987-91-85835-30-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-06-15, Forum Humanun, Hälsohögskolan, Jönköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-06-08 Created: 2012-06-08 Last updated: 2015-10-23Bibliographically approved

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Pietilä Rosendahl, SirpaBülow, PiaBjörklund, Anita
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