Ambiguous loss and shared leisure barriers of family caregivers


  • Leandra A. Bedini, PhD, LRT/CTRS
  • Nancy J. Gladwell, ReD, CPRP



ambiguous loss, caregiving, shared leisure


Ambiguous loss is a concept that describes the loss of a significant other through illness or disabling condition rather than death. With regard to leisure, ambiguous loss is experienced when one’s loved one has a physical or mental disability that prevents him or her from being actively involved in shared leisure experiences with his or her spouse/partner. For many family caregivers, ambiguous loss creates an additional constraint to their leisure pursuits because of the importance placed on participating with their leisure partners. In addition, these dyads often lack information and strategies to negotiate this barrier. This article addresses specific ways that therapeutic recreation professionals can reduce the sense of loss and increase access to satisfying leisure experiences for both the family caregiver and their care-recipient.

Author Biographies

Leandra A. Bedini, PhD, LRT/CTRS

Professor, Department of Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality Management, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Nancy J. Gladwell, ReD, CPRP

Associate Professor, Department of Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality Management, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina.


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How to Cite

Bedini, PhD, LRT/CTRS, L. A., & Gladwell, ReD, CPRP, N. J. (2009). Ambiguous loss and shared leisure barriers of family caregivers. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 8(2), 23–30.