An exploration of the experiences of stigma and community reintegration following acquired brain injury

Minns, Emma Louise

Clinical psychology
September 2018

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2018 Emma Louise Minns. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

This portfolio thesis consists of three parts; a systematic literature review, an empirical study and a set of related appendices. The thesis as a whole considers the experience of stigma and factors that affect community integration following an acquired brain injury (ABI).

The first section is a systematic literature review that explores the factors that affect reintegrating into the community after an ABI. It explores the relationship between numerous different patient, injury, psychological and external factors and community integration. Twenty two papers were reviewed and their findings synthesised using a narrative synthesis approach. Review findings were combined and integrated to generate new perspectives and highlight commonalities and differences within the literature. The findings indicate the complex and multi-dimensional relationship between numerous different factors and levels of community integration following brain injury. The majority of findings were inconsistent and with small effect sizes. However, the review provided interesting points for discussion and highlighted age, severity of injury and ethnicity as predictive factors of community integration. The findings are discussed within the context of wider literature, and recommendations for additional support and targeted interventions post injury are discussed.

The second section of the portfolio is an empirical study that explores the experience of stigma in an acquired brain injury population. A positive psychology framework is adopted and the study also aimed to explore the dialectical nature of experiencing stigma, in line with second wave positive psychology principles. The researcher used semi-structured interviews to obtain rich information and experiences regarding individuals experience of stigma. Data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Six participants between the ages of 37 and 67 were interviewed, 3 of which had sustained a traumatic brain injury, 2 had experienced a stroke and one had contracted encephalitis. Three super-ordinate themes and 10 sub-themes emerged from the data. The findings indicate that participants perceived to experience stigma and discrimination from society but also experience those with a good understanding of their injuries. Post-traumatic growth in terms of developing resilience, empathy and empowerment to create social change was also evident. The interaction between both good and bad experiences may have contributed to the development of PTG and also highlights the dialectical nature of experiencing stigma. The findings are discussed in the context of wider literature and the implications for strategies to increase public understanding of brain injury and facilitate social contact between those with and without injuries.

The third section consists of a set of appendices relating to both the systematic literature review and the empirical paper. A reflective statement and an epistemological statement can also be found within the appendices. The statements consider the researcher’s motivation behind the research, the positions and assumptions underlying the research and their experience of conducting the research.

Publisher
School of Health and Social Work, The University of Hull
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
ClinPsyD
Language
English
Extent
1 MB
Identifier
hull:16584
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