“In my before life”: Relationships, coping and post-traumatic growth in adolescent survivors of a traumatic brain injury
Ashley Di Battista , Celia Godfrey, Cheryl Soo, Cathy Catroppa, Vicki Anderson
Child Neuropsychology, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, 3052 Parkville, Australia
Objective: Explore the individual, adolescent phenomeno-logy of quality of life after traumatic brain injury.
Subjects/Patients: Adolescent survivors of traumatic brain injury.
Methods: Qualitative interviews with 10 adolescents, mean age at assessment 17.09 years (SD 1.81). Mean time since injury 4.62 years (SD 2.89). Data were analysed using a primarily interpretative phenomenological analysis approach.
Results: Two major findings: (1) perceived quality of life was not automatically impacted by a traumatic brain injury, but when it was, the directionality of impact (positive, negative) varied depending on the life-domain; (2) changes in ability post-traumatic brain injury were attributed to the injury (more often cognitive and physical changes) or to a sense of normal maturation processes (72% and 28%, respectively). Attribution processing permeated themes of personal and social discrepancies, which also yielded themes of: altered family and relationships, roles, responsibilities, independence, coping and post-traumatic growth. All participants reported a happy life at the time of interview.
Conclusion: The adolescents’ appraisal of their identity from pre- to post-injury life was related to their current sense of well-being. Most notably was the sense of balance; participants addressed the negative and positive consequences of brain injury to qualify their sense of wellbeing.
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