Title

Quality of life and secondary disabling conditions among individuals with traumatic brain injury

Date of Award

1997

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Human Services

Advisor(s)

Michael Marge

Keywords

traumatic brain injury

Subject Categories

Rehabilitation and Therapy | Social Work

Abstract

This study is an examination of quality of life among individuals with traumatic brain injury using a qualitative methodology. The researcher describes the experience of quality of life for individuals with traumatic brain injury. Findings were utilized to describe the development of a quality of life assessment tool that could be used by rehabilitation counselors to plan interventions for enhancing quality of life and/or preventing the development of secondary disabling conditions. The research addressed the questions, (a) What is the nature of quality of life for individuals who have experienced a traumatic brain injury and (b) Is it possible for rehabilitation counselors to use the knowledge of a person's quality of life as a tool in planning interventions to reduce the risks associated with developing secondary disabling conditions?

The nature and impact of disabling conditions, and the perceived quality of life of individuals who have experienced traumatic brain injury were examined. The issues that were investigated include; (a) the experience of secondary disabling conditions among individuals who have acquired a TBI, (b) the experience of quality of life, and (c) participant's values and aspirations in relation to quality of life. Focus group and interview guidelines were developed which solicited a quality of life assessment by ten informants, ten significant others or caregivers, and ten rehabilitation service providers. A conceptual model of quality of life among individuals with traumatic brain injury and an item pool for a proposed "Quality of Life Assessment Interview" were presented.

The major themes arising from the research were related to barriers, supports, and strategies used by individuals with a traumatic brain injury in attempting to achieve a satisfying quality of life. Four themes identified as important elements of a satisfying quality of life were independence, supportive relationships, meaningful activity, and a sense of security. The perception of quality of life by informants was individualistic and personal. This study revealed that the experience of quality of life was dynamic.

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