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  2. Revealing the Invisible Emotion Work of Caregivers: A Photovoice Exploration of Informal Care Provided by Family Caregivers for Post-9/11 Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injuries

Revealing the Invisible Emotion Work of Caregivers: A Photovoice Exploration of Informal Care Provided by Family Caregivers for Post-9/11 Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injuries

Objective: Describe the different forms of emotion work performed by family caregivers of veterans living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Design: Collaborators were provided cameras to take photographs illustrating their experiences as family caregivers. The meaning behind caregiver photographs was solicited using photoelicitation interviews and coded. Setting: Homes of veterans or other informal settings in 2 regions of the United States served by the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System and the Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System. Participants: Twenty-six family caregivers of post-9/11 era veterans with TBI. Results: Caregivers described performing different types of intangible, and largely invisible, work centered on emotion management. Emotion work primarily involved creating a new normal, keeping things calm, and suppressing their own emotional experiences to "put on a brave face." Although having derived a sense of satisfaction and identity from their role, caregivers acknowledged that emotion work was challenging and sometimes stressful. The Photovoice method allowed care-givers to express through metaphor experiences that otherwise would have been hard to articulate and share with others. Conclusion: Findings signal a need for healthcare systems and providers to acknowledge emotion work as a potential source of stress and to provide multifaceted support for veterans and family caregivers.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
Wolters Kluwer
ISBN/ISSN
0885-9701
Publication Year
2021
Issue Number
1
Journal Titles
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Volume Number
36
Start Page
25
End Page
33