Institutions | About Us | Help | Gaeilge
rian logo

Go Back
‘It’s just everyone understands’: How adults with an acquired brain injury navigate stigma to create meaningful relationships in their communities
Brennan, Joanne
Background: Individuals with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), a leading cause of disability, are particularly vulnerable to mental health difficulties and frequently experience stigma. This places them at high risk of social exclusion. Social relations are a key indicator of quality of life after an ABI yet current literature fails to identify successful strategies to navigate stigma. Objectives: 1.) To discover what factors enhance relationship maintenance and formation post ABI. 2.) To understand how positive relationships promote wellness by acting as a buffer to the effects of stigmatisation. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with two male participants were completed and transcribed. An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was conducted. Analysis of an initial descriptive layer of what participant is saying is enriched by an additional layer of the deeper interpretative work of the researcher. The themes emerged from this commentary. Results: IPA produced three themes. ‘Everyday interactions’ outlined the stigma experienced in daily encounters which led to avoidance strategies. ‘Re-negotiating relationships’ emphasised the complexity of maintaining pre-morbid relationships. ‘The shared experience’ revealed that engagement with others with a similar disability experience, a shared understanding, was the principal strategy to managing stigma. Conclusions: The findings suggest the continuing prevalence of stigma towards individuals with an ABI in society. Occupational therapists working in community settings are encouraged to consider that clients with an ABI have the opportunity to access disability specific spaces which are a huge protective factor in terms of their mental health.
Keyword(s): stigma; acquired brain injury; relationships; community; shared experience
Publication Date:
Type: Master thesis (research)
Peer-Reviewed: No
Language(s): English
Institution: University of Limerick
Publisher(s): University of Limerick
First Indexed: 2014-09-25 05:37:58 Last Updated: 2015-11-04 05:26:56