Research Reports - What's wrong with me? seeking a coherent understanding of recovery after mild traumatic brain injury

Disabil Rehabil. 2016 Sep 14:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Snell DL(1,)(2), Martin R(3), Surgenor LJ(4), Siegert RJ(5), Hay-Smith EJ(3).

PURPOSE: Qualitative research examining experiences of recovering from mild
traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is limited. Findings from quantitative studies
regarding predictors of persisting symptoms are inconsistent with limited
attention directed to capturing broad perspectives and priorities of the wider
stakeholders. More flexible research approaches may help advance the field. We
used a mixed method design to generate patient perspectives of MTBI recovery,
integrating these with quantitative investigation to isolate factors that might
contribute to divergent MTBI outcomes.
METHODS: The qualitative component reported here involved semi-structured
interviews with selected participants (n = 10) from the quantitative study
cohort, sampling both recovered and non-recovered adult MTBI participants.
Interviews focused on participants' general description and understandings of
their recovery and perceptions of what helped or hindered this. Data were
analyzed using general thematic analysis.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Participants regardless of recovery status identified the
importance of having a coherent understanding of their injury and recovery.
Factors facilitating coherence included social support, validation, reassurance,
accessing credible evidence-based information and having a pathway to wellness.
Findings suggested that coherence could be a helpful umbrella construct worthy of
examination in future MTBI research. This construct appears broad and able to
cope with the complexity of individual experiences after injury. Implications for
rehabilitation Sense of coherence may be a helpful umbrella construct that can
facilitate resilience and positive recovery beliefs and expectations after mild
traumatic brain injury. Reassurance, validation, and social support appear
important and may facilitate injury recovery. Focus on the experiences of people
recovering from mild traumatic brain injury may help to refine recovery models
and understandings and thus provide more effective intervention targets. 

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