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Title: Experiences of post traumatic growth in the long-term phase of spinal cord injury : an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Gemson, Lloyd
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 7362
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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A Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is considered to be one of the most life changing injuries that an individual can experience (Van Leeuwen, Kraaijeveld, Lindeman, & Post, 2012). An SCI not only impacts on an individual's physical health (McDonald & Sadowsky), but also on their psychological wellbeing (Craig, Tran, & Middleton, 2009). SCIs are predominantly caused by a fracture in the spinal column causing motor neuron damage, which can result in paraplegia (loss of physical sensation and ability in the lower extremities) or tetraplegia (loss of functionality and sensation in all four limbs and torso). The most common causes of an SCI are road traffic accidents, violent assaults or through sport (McDonald & Sadowsky, 2002). A growing body of literature has highlighted that individuals can experience positive life changes in the form of posttraumatic growth (PTG) following an SCI (Byra, 2016; Davis & Novoa, 2013; January, Zebraki, Chlan, & Vogel, 2015; Kalpakjian et al., 2014; Kennedy, Lude, Elfström, & Smithson, 2012; Kortte, Gilbert, Gorman, & Wegener, 2010; Kunz, Joseph, Geyh, & Peter, 2017; McMillen & Cook, 2003; Min et al., 2013; Pollard & Kennedy, 2009; Wang, Xie, & Zhao, 2018). Tedeschi and Calhoun (1996) described PTG as benefits that are perceived to have arisen through the struggle that ensues as the individual attempts to make sense of and adjust to their new reality following a traumatic life-event. To date, few SCI studies have been systematically reviewed and, when they have, they have been part of wider traumatic health conditions. However, it has been suggested that PTG may differ across health conditions (Barskova & Oesterreich, 2009; Bostock, Sheikh, & Barton, 2009). The first research paper therefore systematically reviews the literature on PTG following an SCI to narrow this gap in knowledge. Quantitative literature has suggested that PTG reported in the early phase of recovery from trauma may represent coping mechanism rather than true growth, and therefore PTG may be influenced by the passing of time (Helgeson, Reynolds, & Tomich, 2006). To date, qualitative research has provided valuable understanding on PTG following an SCI (Chun & Lee, 2008; Chun & Lee, 2010; Chun & Lee, 2013; de Roon-Cassini, de St. Aubin, Valvano, Hastings, & Brasel, 2013; Crawford, Gayman, & Tracey, 2014; Griffiths & Kennedy; 2012; Kennedy, Lude, Elfström, & Cox, 2013; Khanjani, Younesi, Khankeh, & Azkhosh, 2017; Wang et al., 2017; Weitzner et al., 2011). However, none have used Interpretative Phenological Analysis (IPA) (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009) to explore how individuals in the long-term phase of an SCI experience PTG or how they make sense of the PTG they have experienced over the years. The second study therefore employs IPA to explore how individuals in the long-term phase of their SCI experience and make sense of their positive growth.
Supervisor: Kiemle, Gundi ; Unwin, Jen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral