Making sense of older adult’s lives with asthma

  • Skaiste Linceviciute

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Introduction: Asthma in older persons is a common illness that is insufficiently recognised and researched. It is known that asthma in older adults can be diagnosed as a phenotype of a long-standing asthma or a late onset asthma. It can entail a range of structural difficulties and issues, such as a delayed diagnosis of asthma, misdiagnosis, treatment difficulties and many other medical related concerns. However, regarding the context of living with asthma of older adults, the knowledge is based on quantitative research with studies of a wide age range that does not consider the individual experiences of older adults nor the meaning of asthma in their lives.

Aim: This thesis aimed to explore the experiences, perspectives and ideas about what it is like to live with asthma for older persons.

Method: This thesis carried out a comprehensive meta-synthesis of the worldwide qualitative studies with asthma in older adults, and then compared these findings with the qualitative studies with asthma in younger adults. This achieved a comparison between the two age groups, and identified a clear knowledge gap, providing important learning points for older adults with asthma, and importantly forming a primary qualitative study. 19 interviews with older adults were collected and the data was analysed using narrative analysis with a focus onto narrative structures and contents.

Findings: Two phenotypes of older age asthma was researched, it was found that there were important differences related to asthma diagnosis and people’s current lives. The analysis covered topics related to psychological and physical wellbeing, aspects of social life, asthma care and treatment, and life with other co-morbidities.

Conclusion: Narrative analysis provided valuable understanding about older adult’s experiences with asthma and identified a comprehensive set of themes. This thesis presented implications for research and practice for the interested parties, including older adults themselves.

Date of AwardSept 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorKaren Burnell (Supervisor), Karen Pilkington (Supervisor) & Rebecca Stores (Supervisor)

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