Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Sudden illness and biographical flow in narratives of stroke recovery.

Faircloth CA, Boylstein C, Rittman M, Young ME, Gubrium J. Sudden illness and biographical flow in narratives of stroke recovery. Sociology of Health & Illness. 2004 Mar 1; 26(2):242-61.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


The conceptual framework of biographical disruption has dominated studies into the everyday experience of chronic illness. Biographical disruption assumes that the illness presents the person with an intense crisis, regardless of other mitigating factors. However, our data suggests that the lives of people who have a particular illness that is notably marked by sudden onset are not inevitably disrupted. Extensive qualitative interviews were conducted with a sample of veteran non-Hispanic white, African-American, and Puerto Rican Hispanic stroke survivors, at one month, six months and twelve months after being discharged home from hospital. Narrative excerpts are presented to describe specific discursive resources these people use that offset the disrupting connotations of stroke. Our findings suggest a biographical flow more than a biographical disruption to specific chronic illnesses once certain social indicators such as age, other health concerns and previous knowledge of the illness experience, are taken into account. This difference in biographical construction of the lived self has been largely ignored in the literature. Treating all survivor experiences as universal glosses over some important aspects of the survival experience, resulting in poorly designed interventions, and in turn, low outcomes for particular people.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.