Episodic Relatedness in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Families Where a Parent has Multiple Diagnoses

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There is a strong association between social relationships and health. In this article, we ask how a view of social relationships played out in time can help to nuance the role of patients' social networks in their healthcare-seeking behavior. We investigate this link by exploring the dynamics of relatedness in socioeconomically vulnerable young families with a multimorbid parent and their extended networks. Data were generated through repeated semi-structured and open-ended interviews and participant observation. The study found that, for much of their lives, participants experienced life as a series of events that happened to them and were out of their control. This way of being-in-the-world was linked to a consistent pattern of intense and then suddenly discontinued relationships. The relevance for health professionals is that there is a growing trend in healthcare systems worldwide to involve relatives and extended networks in a patient's treatment process. Our findings indicate challenges to this approach and recommend that health professionals are aware that for socioeconomically vulnerable patients with multimorbidity, important relationships can change dramatically, quickly, and repeatedly, over short periods of time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number14
Pages (from-to)2066-2077
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 323466898