The “Hidden” and the “Invisible”: The Lived Experiences of Farming Dyads with Stable Angina Pectoris
: A longitudinal, hermeneutic phenomenological study

  • Stephen Heptinstall

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Stable Angina Pectoris (SAP) pain is caused by decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. It is exacerbated by exertion and eased with rest. Research indicates the need to improve support given to sufferers (NACR, 2008) that considers ethno-cultural factors (King et al., 2006) and close relational influences (Dalteg et al., 2011). However, delivery of appropriate care in isolated rural communities remains challenging. Despite agriculture being recognised as one of the most dangerous occupations, with above average incidence of chronic conditions and mental health issues, the profession remains medically under-served, due to geographic and attitudinal restraints (Anderson et al., 2012). The impact SAP has on male farmers, who rely on a physically active body, and their female partners who sometimes, though not always, work on the farm, is poorly understood. Hence, this study sought to investigate the lived experiences of eight Herefordshire male-female farming couples where the man had SAP, to help inform future care.Using a longitudinal, hermeneutic phenomenological research design, data were obtained through semi-structured interviews, on three occasions, over twelve months. Lifeworld existential dimensions, corporeality, spatiality, temporality, relationality were used to categorise findings and draw analytic interpretations, alongside the embodied reflections of the researcher.This study found that couples practised bodily subterfuge, in order to manage vulnerabilities inconsistent with their worldview. The men with SAP attempted to hide body disruption, to maintain their sense of self and social standing. The women became body invisible, to conform to dutiful care-giving, supplement their partner’s farm-work, and distance themselves, inter-corporeally. Disharmony between body, self and world, during illness, also eroded the participants’ sense of existential trust.This research demonstrates the importance of acknowledging the existential lifeworld of both the individual farming male with SAP and their female partner. It also offers a threshold whereby more targeted, humanised healthcare may proceed.
Date of Award21 Jan 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorPaula Smith (Supervisor) & Helen Lucey (Supervisor)

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