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Positive emotions in caring for a spouse: a literature review

This article aimed at identifying the positive emotions connected to spouse caregiving and the advantages for spouse carers. Theoretically, the article is based on the concept of emotion and the assumptions of positive psychology. Data search is conducted via electronic literature databases and the analysis method is partly theory‐driven and partly inductive content classification. Our analyses discover and clarify the concepts associated with positive emotions in caring, such as the gains of caregiving, benefit‐finding, finding meaning, personal growth, post‐traumatic growth and resilience. We also utilise a conceptual framework to describe positive emotions in caregiving, and the identified advantages of positive emotions in spouse caregiving include distress buffering, mediation in coping with stress, increased quality of life and well‐being, and finding a sense of purpose. Finally, spouse care is seen in this article as a challenging life situation which at best can support personal growth, if the processing of both positive and negative emotions is included in daily life. Hence, the service and support system should be developed further by utilising the findings of positive psychology as well as studies of personal growth.

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John Wiley & Sons Inc
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Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
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