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Table 1 Summary of participants

From: The impact of emergency aid work on personal relationships: a psychodynamic study

Namea Biographical details Psychosocial formulation
Julian Senior manager with 20 years of field experience, married with a stable home base. Presented as confident and securely attached but acknowledged internal conflicts and high personal cost of the work.
Thomas Senior manager with 25 years of field experience, in a long-term “open” relationship Presented as calm and measured. Although he described himself as approachable, he evidenced traits of an avoidant attachment styleb
Jane Had taken a mid-career break from the field in order to reflect on her life and build a more stable home base. Described a close circle of female friends but no partner. Presented as active and engaged but somewhat anxious. Had used counselling to try and work through a perceived struggle to integrate different areas of her life.
Anna Was currently on deployment, away from a secure home base and long-term partner. Presented as calm and level-headed but concerned by a sense that field work is incompatible with longer-term family life. Evidenced avoidant attachment traits.
Emma Experienced senior manager, currently between deployments. Married with children having established a home base in an adopted country. Presented as confident and assertive but indicated high levels of frustration with the difficulties of adapting to life outside the field. Indicated anger at having been assigned a coping role in family of origin.
Sara Experience practitioner based at HQ with frequent travel to the field. Described global friendship circle but no partner. Presented as a motivated and principled individual, with strong beliefs in personal autonomy. Also evidenced avoidant attachment traits and had sought counselling to explore continuing lack of intimate partner relationship.
  1. aAll names of participants have been changed to protect anonymity
  2. bSee “Attachment styles” section for definitions and discussion