Social adaptation following intestinal stoma formation in people living at home: a longitudinal phenomenological study

Gabrielle Thorpe, Maggie McArthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Intestinal stoma formation profoundly changes the relationship between a person and their social world. The aim of this study was to understand the experience of living with a new stoma; this paper explores the theme ‘ disrupted social world,’ highlighting how stoma-forming surgery impacts on individuals’ abilities to participate and interact socially over time.

Method: A longitudinal phenomenological approach. Twelve participants with a new stoma were recruited using purposeful sampling. Data were collected at three, nine and fifteen months following surgery through in-depth, unstructured interviews and analysed using a bespoke iterative framework.

Results: Three categories were identified: participation in the social environment; interpersonal relationships: changes and challenges; and setting and achieving goals.

Conclusions: Stoma-forming surgery changes the ways people relate to their social environment and connect with others, creating self-consciousness and impeding social confidence and autonomy. Understanding the social implications of stoma-forming surgery can help clinicians to provide responsive and appropriate support to facilitate social rehabilitation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2286-2293
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number22
Early online date10 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Colorectal surgery
  • Ostomy
  • UK
  • Adjustment
  • Social adaptation

Cite this