Could stroke trigger be prevented by healthy family relationships?

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Although major stroke risk factors are well documented, little is known about which life circumstances are perceived to be related to the actual triggering of a first stroke. The purpose was to explore self-perceived spontaneously related life circumstances surrounding the trigger of a first stroke. A qualitative design with a phenomenological orientation was used. Nine individuals with a first stroke and less than 80 years of age were purposely recruited in 2 weeks after the stroke onset. An interview guide developed by experts was used. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and data analysis followed a rigorous process including team validation. All participants had in common a spontaneous reference to a family conflict regarding a specific event they tended to avoid surrounding the trigger of the stroke, which was temporarily resolved after the stroke onset. Essential themes emerging from the data refer to symbols such as a big heart and money issues as well as ambivalent feelings of responsibility, and guilt regarding social roles such as being a spouse or parent. This study provides a deeper understanding of the positive consequences the stroke had in temporarily resolving some family conflicts tainted by a lack of transparency and honesty regarding ambivalent feelings. Further exploration is needed as secondary prevention and health promotion campaigns could specifically target healthy transparent and honest family relationships as a potential protective factor against triggering a stroke, if these results are confirmed in future studies.

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