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Title: The body and the self following acquired brain injury
Author: Howes, H.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2005
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The effect of acquired brain injury (ABI) on the individual’s perception of their body, and the effect of the injury on their self concept was studied. Existing literature has not addressed the significance of the body changes for the individual following ABI. In women differences in body image and psychological health were found between the control and ABI group, these centred on a greater concern with health following injury. Two male clinical groups (a stroke and a traumatic brain injury group) were examined. The changes in body image and psychological distress were investigated using two carefully matched control groups. Males with ABI had lower self esteem and greater dissatisfaction with physical and sexual funstioing. Using a longitudinal design, assessment was repeated at a one year interval for male and female clinical groups. The finding was that the pattern of psychological distress and poor body image is remarkably resistant to change. The participant’s experience of ABI was examined using qualitative methods. Female participants experience and was conceptualized as a grief like reaction, and a change in self. The male participants perception and was characterized by practical concerns with sexuality, relationship changes and social inclusion that seem amenable to inclusion in existing rehabilitation models. Finally the experimental chapters were related to existing theoretical models. In particular the idea of the “body drop” that is a sudden change in the functioning of the body, triggers a reappraisal of the self was supported. The thesis argues that despite the existence of cognitive changes, it is often the physical changes that have resonance for the individual and thus have greater significance for the person with ABI.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available