The Effects of Trauma and Serious Illness on Couples Marital Quality: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Spring 2022


The purpose of this interpretative phenomenological analysis study was to explore the marital quality of couples experiencing the trauma of a serious illness in their relationship. The researcher examined couples by asking the question “What are the lived experiences of couples who have experienced trauma”? The researcher explored the couples’ experience and defined what trauma means to each couple. The aim of the study was to study the overlooked perspective of both partners in a relationship. It is critical for researchers to be aware of the unique personalities, needs, and personal experiences of these couples. A sample of 18 participants (nine couples), was recruited through e-versions of flyers, posted on the internet (e.g., on social networking sites), paper flyers posted around the university’s campus and at the local courthouse, and word of mouth. The researcher interviewed each couple conjointly to understand their relationship experiences. Findings revealed that couples can successfully maneuver life with its many challenges while building secure attachments and bonds.


Linda Ball

Subject Categories

Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences