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Adjustment of adults with traumatic brain injury : a qualitative inquiry

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Adjustment of adults with traumatic brain injury : a qualitative inquiry
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Scharf-Locasio, Alice Diane
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vii, 221 leaves : ; 29 cm.

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Cognitive models ( jstor )
Disabilities ( jstor )
Emotional adjustment ( jstor )
Learning ( jstor )
Perceptual motor coordination ( jstor )
Personal empowerment ( jstor )
Physical trauma ( jstor )
Psychosociology ( jstor )
Rehabilitation counseling ( jstor )
Traumatic brain injury ( jstor )
City of Gainesville ( local )
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theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2001.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 210-220).
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Printout.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Alice Diane Scharf-Locasio.

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ADJUSTMENT OF ADULTS WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY:
A QUALITATIVE INQUIRY








By

ALICE DIANE SCHARF-LOCASCIO


















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL IN THE
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL
FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR
OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2001












ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


I would like to acknowledge all survivors of traumatic brain injury who

courageously embrace the challenges of adjustment and survival. I thank in

particular the participants in this study--Teresa Lynn, Bernie, Taz, Lex, and

Shelley--who provided much valuable information and inspiration for me to

continue this study.

I am indebted to many friends and family members who provided

encouragement and faith to help me persevere through this process. To my

husband, Paul, gratitude in return for being so giving and supportive is not

enough. To Shannon, my daughter-to-be, someday I will thank you for giving me

the incentive and drive to complete this project.

I am also indebted to those who have taught me so much and served on

my committee. I appreciate the guidance and support of Mary Howard-Hamilton,

Rob Sherman, and Ron Spitznagel in conceptualizing and developing; and I

thank them for supporting me through this project. I also appreciate Harry

Daniels for agreeing to be a part of this project late in the process and Peter

Sherrard for helping me to keep my focus.









ii













TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOW LEDG M ENTS .................................................... ........................... ii

ABSTRACT ............................................................................................... vi

CHAPTERS

1 INTRO DUCTIO N ...........................................................................1

Statem ent of the Problem ..................................................................... 3
Purpose of the Study...............................................................................
Definition of Term s ........................................ ............ ...................... 8
Sum m ary ................................................................................. .......... 10

2 REVIEW O F LITERATURE ..................................................................12

Disability ................................................................... .............. ....12
Psychosocial Adjustm ent to Disability .................................................. 20
Rehabilitation....................................................................................... 40
Policies and Legislation ........................................................................ 44
Traum atic Brain Injury ................................................................ .. 53
Sum m ary .......................................................................................... .. 71

3 M ETHO DO LO GY ............................................................................... 73

Research Q uestions.......................................................................... 75
Purpose ............................................................................................. . 77
Problem ............................................................................................. . 80
Research Design................................................................................ 82
Participants......................................................................................... 83
Data Collection and Analysis.............................................................. 85
Sum m ary ............................................................................................ 87

4 CASE STUDIES AND CO NTRUCTS ................................................... 89

Case Study 1: Teresa Lynn.................................................... ........... 90
Case Study 2: Bernie......................................................................... 97
Case Study 3: Taz...................................................... ........ .......... 102


iii








C ase Study 4: Lex ................................. .......................................... 109
Case Study 5: Shelley ....................................................................... 114
Themes and Categories of Participants............................................... 120
C onstructs of Participants.................................................................... 147
S um m ary ....................... ........................... ...................................... 152

5 COMPARISON AND CONTRAST OF CONSTRUCTS AND
M O D E LS ........................................................................................ 154

Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability .............................................. 154
Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability Model and the Constructs ........ 156
Em pow erm ent M odel................................................................ ........ 160
The Empowerment Model and the Constructs ................................... 162
Prigatano's Holistic Model of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation ........ 165
Holistic Model of Rehabilitation and the Constructs .......................... 167
S um m ary .................................... .......................................... .......... 169

6 D IS C U S S IO N ...................................................................................... 171

Introduction................................. .................. ................................ 171
R eview of R esults................................................................................ 171
L im itatio ns ........................................................................................... 17 9
Im p licatio ns ......................................................................................... 180
Theoretical Considerations............................................................... 184
Recommendations ............................................................................. 192

APPENDICES

A INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ................................................................ 195

B FEEDBACK FORM 1...................................................................196

C FEEDBACK FORM 2.......................................................................... 197

D INFORMED CONSENT........... ............................................................. 198

E INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE........................................................202

F CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF ADAPTATION TO DISABILITY.............204

G EMPOWERMENT MODEL................................................................205

H THEMES AND CATEGORIES OF PARTICIPANTS .......................207

I CONSTRUCTS AND MODELS.......................................................... 209



iv








REFERENCES ...................................................................................... 210

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ......................................................................... 221





















































V












Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
Of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

ADJUSTMENT OF ADULTS WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY:
A QUALITATIVE INQUIRY

By

Alice Diane Scharf-Locascio

August 2001

Chairperson: Mary Howard-Hamilton, Ed.D.
Major Department: Counselor Education

The literature in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation has grown

substantially over the past 25 years as survival rates have dramatically increased

due to advancements in neuro-surgical medicine. The bulk of this literature

addresses various psychosocial problems from the perspectives of those who

treat and support the survivors of traumatic brain injury. In addition, extensive

literature exists attempting to present relationships and predict rehabilitation

outcomes for survivors of traumatic brain injury. In recent years, conceptualizing

the meaning of disability has shifted from viewing deficits as being intrinsic within

the individual to viewing the deficits as being environmental. Further,

rehabilitation ethics mandate a consumerism approach, one that includes the

client goals in treatment planning exercises. Achieving compliance with these

shifts in rehabilitation necessitates that rehabilitation professionals understand

adjustment of survivors of traumatic brain injury phenomenologically.


vi







This study examined adjustment and rehabilitation from the perspectives

of adult survivors of traumatic brain injury. Qualitative case study techniques

were used to ascertain the viewpoints of three males and two females about their

adjustment to traumatic brain injury. Participation criteria for this study included

that the individuals had to be between 20 and 50 years old; they must have

incurred a traumatic brain injury; they must have participated in rehabilitation;

and they must have been aware of their adjustment issues for participation in this

study. The data were collected by interviewing and audio-recording the five

participants and then the information was transcribed. From the transcriptions,

case studies were constructed and then analyzed using the constant

comparative method to determine themes and constructs to satisfy the first

purpose of this study. The derived constructs were compared and contrasted

with three theories of adjustment to disability and traumatic brain injury to satisfy

the second purpose of this study. Finally, the implications from this study and

recommendations for future research were presented.



















vii












CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION


Possibilities are more important than what already exists,
and knowledge of the latter counts only in its bearing upon
possibilities.
(Dewey, 1959, p. 119)

Though the above quote was meant for applications in education

philosophy, it also applies to rehabilitation philosophy. The quote by Dewey is

introduced as a means to encourage readers to accept the possibility that

individuals who become brain injured might achieve far more than expected of

them and more than was predicted for them after becoming injured. The reality

of this happening may challenge traditional paradigms that serve to guide

rehabilitation and medical personnel in providing optimum care for patients

and clients. These paradigms may unintentionally preclude client potential by

imposing confining and limiting parameters.

Rehabilitation personnel are charged with facilitating attainment of

treatment goals of individuals with an acquired disability. Ideally, clients give

their input and proceed through a rehabilitation program with targeted goals

outlined by the rehabilitation team to completion and satisfaction. In reality,

treatment goals are most often pre-established and aligned with existing

philosophies and paradigms that are then adjusted and implemented in

compliance with funding sources. Rehabilitation staff and personnel are


1





2


trained accordingly, providing guidelines and expectations for patients and

families. Should clients decide upon goals that do not "fit" the philosophies

and theories endorsed by the treatment paradigm, the patient is viewed as

noncompliant, unaware, or in denial (Hill, 1999). As such, competing realities

exist. One reality is that of the survivors who are recipients of and experts on

the transpired trauma, as they experienced everything first-hand. The polar

reality is that of the observers (Crisp, 1993; Wright, 1983; Yuker, 1994). The

observers are all others including family and rehabilitation treatment providers

as they experienced second-hand the sequella of the imposed tragedy or

accident (Crisp, 1993; Wright, 1983).

The shock of trauma, sudden illness, or accident affects survivors in

such a way that they need the help of observers such as rescue and medical

professionals in order to survive the acute stages (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). At

this point, survivors or observers of the accident communicate their version of

events. As helping professionals acquire this information, they begin forming a

reality of what happened to the victims in order to assess, diagnose, and

deliver services deemed appropriate for the survivor (Rubin & Roessler, 1995).

Millions of individuals acquire various illnesses and disabilities every

year according to Social Security Administration (19998) statistics. These

millions of individuals have their personal developments disrupted by the

acquired illness and disability. They are forced to incorporate into their

inevitably continuing development the impact of their new disabilities in

accordance with financial constraints imposed by funding sources such as





3


insurance plans, government assistance, or client resources (Prigatano,

1999). Individuals with acquired disabilities are presented with consequential

choices of avenues to pursue in efforts to adjust to the new disability.

Committing to these choices and life goals inadvertently defines different

aspects of a developing identity (Erikson, 1963, 1982; McAdams, 1993).

Likewise, the rehabilitation philosophy adopted and implemented by

rehabilitation specialists influences the decisions made by survivors and their

families (Olkin, 1999; Prigatano,1999).

Shaping identity is significant enough without incorporating the variable

of an incurred disability. Self-concept is no longer appropriate without including

the new parameters introduced by a disability (Deloach, 1981, 1994). This is

because the individual with an incurred moderate to severe disability is unable

to function day-to-day without acknowledging limitations and changes (Livneh &

Antonak, 1997; Olkin, 1999). Thus, the process of rehabilitation begins in order

to assist survivors with adapting to the changes caused by the incurred

handicap or disability (Olkin, 1999).


Statement of the Problem

Current rehabilitation counseling trends claim to use an active

consumer/survivor approach to developing treatment plans and goals, with the

rationale being that treatment objectives are better achieved with maximum

consumer/survivor involvement. Maximizing client involvement in treatment

planning leads to increased satisfaction for the client/consumer (McAlees &

Menz, 1992). This seems to be little more than an ideal as a recent study by





4


Chan, Shaw, McMahon, Koch, and Strauser (1997) showed that practitioners

discount the consumers' opinions for several reasons. The survivor of incurred

disability is viewed by the helping professional as naive about prognosis,

incapable of understanding the diagnosis, or is unable to use clear judgment

in goal planning post-injury (Chan et al., 1997). If this is true, then practitioners

merely espouse the principles of maximum consumer involvement but do not

practice it, thereby reaching an ethical dilemma.

Recent philosophies regarding people with disabilities and society

endorse the premise that the environment and nondisabled people impose the

handicaps encountered in interactions between person and environment

(Gilson & Depoy, 2000). People with disabilities are viewed as capable of

achieving goals and activities daily and as intrinsically capable though they may

achieve their goals in nontraditional or unorthodox manners (Gilson & Depoy,

2000; Oliver, 1996). Ironically, many rehabilitation programs, as stated

previously, espouse this philosophy while in reality perpetuating oppressive

measures (Olkin, 1999).

At high risk for viewing clients as incapable of fully grasping the scope of

their disabilities are rehabilitation programs for traumatic brain injury treatment.

Traumatic brain injury is acquired damage to the brain due to blunt insult to the

head caused by acceleration or deceleration impact (Krauss & McArthur, 1999).

The effects of the damage range from mild to severe for survivors causing

complications and deficits across the span of foundational domains such as

cognition, personality, behaviors, and physical capabilities (Krauss & McArthur,







1999; Prigatano, 1999). Because the extent and combination of affected

domains is different for each survivor, the rehabilitation team faces unique

challenges. Because this disability group has far-reaching neurobehavioral

and cognitive implications, interpreting differences between client and

treatment goals is easily dismissed as lacking insight, awareness, or clutching

to denial (Hill, 1999; Prigatano, 1999).

Measures such as the Glasgow Coma Scale (1974) implemented to

categorize and predict outcomes for survivors with traumatic brain injury as

mild, moderate, or severe seem to take into account physical variables in acute

phases of injury. Positive correlations have been found between predictions

and outcomes for survivors that indicate that such instruments are reliable

(Krauss & McArthur, 1999). Other studies suggest little or no relationship

between predictions and outcomes that should raise serious questions of

validity to rehabilitation providers (Krauss & McArthur, 1999).

Several researchers suggest that problems exist when predictions and

prognoses take place out of context (Hill, 1999; Livneh & Antonak, 1997;

Prigatano, 1999). To explore or even predict behavior out of context runs the

risk of limiting the individual to the parameters of the outside observers. Only

the survivor is expert on fully understanding the challenge(s) of adapting to an

imposed disability. Endeavoring to learn these challenges

phenomenologically is critical in rehabilitation planning (Prigatano, 1999).

Understanding the client perspectives is paramount as it is the only way to

maximize consumer/survivor involvement and to best facilitate restoration to





6

optimal functioning (Prigatano, 1999). Learning what adaptation means within

the context of individual situations and then to try to understand the

complexities of human behavior must occur phenomenologically. Practitioners

must incorporate a whole, qualitative understanding of client problems in the

client environment or context in order to optimally facilitate clients toward

reasonable goals.

Therefore, the problem is that current positivist, medicine, and

rehabilitation philosophies fail to explain how and why people with traumatic

brain injury exceed prognoses and predictions made with nominal measures

and scales. Also unexplained adequately are the numbers of patients deemed

unaware or naive because they do not comply with recommended treatments.

This presents the possibility that said rehabilitation philosophies are not

adapted to allow for these variances to fall within normal realms. Rather, such

individuals are labeled as anomalies, unaware, or in denial of their

circumstances. To explore this phenomenon quantitatively would explain

matters only in terms of quantity and would not answer the questions of how

and why individuals with severe traumatic brain injuries at times exceed

expectations and prognoses or do not comply. Such questions can be

answered only by exploring the constructs offered by the actual survivor of

traumatic brain injury. In doing so, problems imposed by rehabilitation

programs implementing prescriptive goals upon clients in addition to the

problems of client awareness, denial, and naivete are likely to be addressed.





7

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to obtain descriptions from survivors of

traumatic brain injury about their perceptions of adjusting to disability and then

to compare the perspectives with existing disability theories and practices.

Because research in brain injury rehabilitation is newer than other disability

groups, there is not an abundance of literature that presents relevant issues

from the client perspective. In addition, there is scarce literature in brain injury

research that examines neurobehavioral and psychosocial constructs thereby

revealing the youth of brain injury research (Olkin, 1999; Prigatano, 1999).

Trauma to the brain potentially affects foundational domains of an individual

including cognition personality, intelligence, and physical functioning. The term

rehabilitation for this disability group may be a misnomer because an injury

affecting these facets of identity concurrently may require the individual to

habilitate (Hill, 1999). Traditional rehabilitation therapy that endeavors to return

individuals to optimal functioning may be inappropriate when the survivor may

need to start all over again, not merely return to a previous state. It is difficult to

argue that a person who suffers from personality changes can return to being

the same person (Hill, 1999). The only way to determine the needs of the client

and the course of disability treatment planning is to endeavor to understand

what the client currently perceives as the rehabilitation treatment course to

follow (Prigatano, 1999). This means examining the current context of the client

and de-emphasizing the process of restoring patients to a state of functioning

that may be impossible due to the imposed deficits of traumatic brain injury.





8

Therefore, the first purpose was to examine through inquiries of actual

survivors what it means to inquire and adjust to traumatic brain injury. Second,

the constructs uncovered through qualitative, semi-structured interviews were

compared and contrasted with three existing models of disability and brain

injury rehabilitation.


Definition of Terms

Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is a restorative process that strives to

return an injured individual to optimum functioning and maximize the potential

for independent living (Rubin & Roessler, 1995). Attempts are made to restore

an individual to independent functioning after acquisition of an injury or illness

in an effort to achieve independent living. A person who has become disabled

or handicapped builds upon premorbid, preexisting information while

incorporating the imposed disability into this knowledge base. This process

comprises the rehabilitation that ideally develops strategies to overcome

societal and self-imposed obstacles (Maki & Riggar, 1997).

Habilitation. Individuals, whether disabled or not, spend their initial

years building a repertoire of knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and

experiences. The individual participates in a learning process and foundation-

building process known as habilitation (Maki & Riggar, 1997; Wright, 1983).

This foundational knowledge is used as a reference point during rehabilitation

treatment planning (Wright, 1983).

Traumatic Brain Injury. For the purposes of this study, traumatic brain

injury was viewed purely as blunt trauma to the head causing damage to the







brain tissue. Closed head injury was used synonymously while head injuries

were delineated as any injury to the head or face not having neurological

consequence, necessarily (Krauss & McArthur, 1999).

Morbid. For the purposes of this research, morbidity connotes the

incidence of disability or traumatic brain injury. Premorbid connotes conditions

that existed for individuals before acquisition of disability and postmorbid refers

to conditions existing after the acquisition of disability.

Adjustment. Some authors maintain that adjustment and adaptation are

separate. Livneh and Antonak (1997) view adjustment as a subset of

adaptation in that adjustment is the final phase of the adaptation process

connoting acceptance and acclimation to disability. This author adopted this

definition and used the model presented by Livneh and Antonak titled "

Adaptation to Disability" but focused on the constructs presented in the

adjustment phase of the model during the comparison analysis of this

research.

Self-Concept and Identity. For the purpose of this study, identity is

defined as a combination or cluster of experiences which one incorporates

within oneself to form a conceptual whole or complete self image (Rangell,

1994).

Awareness. Awareness means to have insight and knowledge of one's

conditions and surroundings and to be conscious. To have deficits in these

areas so that one is not conscious, alert, or knowledgeable of one's conditions





10

and surroundings connotes a condition known as anosognosia (McKinlay &

Watkiss, 1999).


Summary

This study explored problems that arise in adjusting to traumatic brain

injury for the individuals who incur them. A traumatic brain injury results in

acute and permanent neurological damage to the central nervous system

affecting foundational domains such as personality, cognition, and emotion

(Krauss & McArthur, 1999). Medical and rehabilitation efforts collaborate in

order to assist individuals who acquire traumatic brain injury to recover and

compensate for deficits in order to return to an optimal state of independent

functioning. As Hill (1999) pointed out, however, it is unreasonable to expect

someone whose personality or emotions have changed to return to a previous

state. Further, patients with traumatic brain injury can be easily dismissed as

being unaware, in denial, or noncompliant should they choose goals aside

from those recommended by rehabilitation professionals. This study

examined these problems by inquiring how actual survivors of traumatic brain

injury perceive and pursue adjustment. Interviews were conducted with

survivors from which case studies were developed along with an analysis of

derived themes and constructs. The uncovered themes and constructs then

were compared with existing brain injury rehabilitation paradigms.

In doing so, several assumptions were made. One assumption was

that individuals who acquire traumatic brain injury adopt an adjustment

process. Second, participants in this study were survivors of traumatic brain







injury who had undergone formal rehabilitation of some type. Third, the

participants answered researcher questions in an honest manner. Fourth, the

data obtained on each participant were independent of data obtained on other

participants. Finally, all participants were aware and cognizant of their

participation in this study, each having consented to participating independent

of coercion or persuasion by the author or family members regardless of

whether the traumatic brain injury was categorized as mild, moderate, or

severe.

Chapter 2 reviews the literature in several categories including disability,

adjustment, history and legislation regarding disabilities, rehabilitation,

traumatic brain injury, and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. Chapter 3

outlines the methodology used to collect and analyze the data while the

following chapters present the findings and discuss the results and

implications of this study. Chapters 4 and 5 present the results, and Chapter 6

discusses the findings and recommendations.












CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE


In order to explore adjustment to traumatic brain injury from the survivor's

perspective, it is important to have an understanding of the pertinent literature.

A review of the literature is presented, describing adjustment issues relevant to

disability, rehabilitation, and traumatic brain injury as follows: (1) disability, (2)

theories of psychosocial adjustment to disability, (3) rehabilitation, (4) policies

and legislation regarding people with disabilities, (5) traumatic brain injury, and

(6) models of adjustment to traumatic brain injury.


Disability

Disability Defined

A disability is a congenital or acquired physical, mental, or emotional

condition that detours the achievement of daily objectives (Rubin & Roessler,

1995). Congenital disabilities are those conditions that are present at birth

such as mental retardation or physical deformities. Acquired disabilities are

those that are incurred through illness or accident, sometime throughout the

lifespan. Since disabilities and handicaps are not synonymous, disability is

distinguished from a handicap. A disability is a limitation of functioning on

some level of organ or body system but does not obstruct task

accomplishments such as activities of daily living. With a disability, the manner


12





13

in which the task is normally accomplished may change, but the task is still

achieved (Rubin & Roessler, 1995; Wright, 1983). Conversely, a handicap is

an environmental obstruction that prevents normal accomplishment of

vocational, social, educational, or recreational objectives (Gilson & Depoy,

2000; Rubin & Roessler, 1995; Wright, 1983).

Olkin (1999) stated that a wide variety of different types of disabilities

exists and can be viewed in terms of severity on a scale from least severe to

most severe. For example, nearsightedness may fall on the least severe, left

side of the scale while traumatic brain injury falls toward the more severe right

side of the scale. Separately, disability can be observed in terms of a health

continuum according to Olkin (1999). On the left end, less severe illnesses

occur such as colds and other minor ailments. Toward the right end of the

scale are those illnesses that are life threatening such as Duchenne muscular

dystrophy because this disease affects involuntary muscles such as the lungs

or heart (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). It is possible to have a serious disability

and yet be extremely healthy. For instance, people with mental retardation,

cerebral palsy, or amputees may exhibit excellent health, while others with

serious disabilities may exhibit debilitating secondary symptoms (Olkin, 1999).

Secondary symptoms or illnesses are conditions caused not by the disability

itself but rather by the results of the disability. For instance, muscular

dystrophy, comas, and spinal chord injuries, among others, cause limited

mobility that leads to a variety of potential death-causing illnesses such as

debulcutis ulcers, pneumonia, and urinary track infections. Generally, however,





14

disabilities are regarded in terms of function, or the degree that one is able to

achieve the day-to-day activities known as activities of daily living (ADL)(Livneh

& Antonak, 1997; Olkin, 1999).

Inconsistencies exist across contexts and professions when defining

disability. The degree of function, stigma, and illness are interchangeably

pitted against each other, often spurring countless legal battles across the

country (Olkin, 1999; Rubin & Roessler, 1995). For example, obesity, height,

and learning disabilities entail legal ambiguity that yields inconsistent disability

decisions (Olkin, 1999). The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with

Disabilities Act of 1990 have been credited with prompting the continuous "fine-

tuning" of the definition of disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act of

1990 defines disability as follows:

The term "disability" means, with respect to an individual any
physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of
the major life activities of such individual such as caring for oneself and
performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing,
learning, or working. The individual must have a record of such
impairment and must be regarded as having such impairment. (ADA,
1990, p. 12111)

This definition focuses on the degree of function that qualifies or

disqualifies an individual with a disability. A more poignant perspective is to

ask when people with disabilities consider themselves to be disabled (Livneh

& Antonak, 1997; Maki & Riggar; 1997; Olkin, 1999). Olkin (1999) identified

three disability identity groups that people with disabilities gravitate toward.

The first of these, called the "functional limitations group," may accept benefits

such as handicapped parking, but reject seeing themselves as disabled





15

(Olkin, 1999). These individuals interact with the non-disabled community and

are accepted and treated as "normal," especially if their disabilities are not too

severe or carry little stigma (Olkin, 1999). Because of being treated as normal,

there is little motivation to examine identity as anything other than normal, yet

these individuals admit a "kinship" to those who are disabled (Olkin, 1999;

Wright, 1983).

A second disability group that people with disabilities tend to identify with

is the "Disability Identity Group" (Olkin, 1999). These individuals have integrated

their disability with their self-concepts. Such individuals try to function in society

as normally as possible but may recognize that they need assistance from

those who are "able-bodied" (AB) (Deloach, 1981; Olkin, 1999). A third

disability identity, a group called the "Civil Rights Group," is a subset of the

second, "Disability Identity Group." This group takes a proactive approach,

having already incorporated their disability into identity. They see disability as a

social construct. These individuals view the disabled community as a minority

group that has been suppressed and actively advocates for them (Olkin, 1999).

Along with severity of disability and severity of residual effects of the

disability, two other factors determine how people with disabilities identify

themselves, including etiology of disability and degree of financial and social

dependence (Rubin & Roessler, 1995; Wright, 1983). The acquisition of a

disabling condition disrupts what would have been a normal development

process. The impact of incurring disability can have overwhelming effects on

the psychological, social, vocational, economic, and physical facets of daily





16

functioning. Congenital disability necessitates that caregivers teach a

normative process so that the individual with a handicap at birth may one day

achieve independent living. Children with congenital disabilities learn to

incorporate the effects of their disabilities or handicaps during formative years

by their experiences with caregivers. These guardians tend either to coddle too

much, thereby fostering a dependent personality; or the guardians teach their

children to ignore the disability (Olkin,1999). Other parents take steps to

educate and provide support for the ongoing socialization process for their

children with special conditions.


Disability and Identity

The precise meaning of identity has no consensus among theorists and

scholars. Numerous theories exist that endeavor to explain identity, each

presenting the elements of identity through different paradigms. The term has

appeared to be an enigma to the scientific world, as only certain aspects are

quantifiable (Kegan, 1982). The recent trend in psychology is positivist and

attempts to quantify data in order to disprove a hypothesis according to Kegan

(1982). This, however, may be the cause of other aspects of identity to be

overlooked and be left undefined. Defining identity may be a qualitative

process (Kegan, 1982; McAdams, 1993). Identity is shaped by context(s) and

experiences with certain components remaining unchanged as one

encounters changes and transformations (Rangell, 1994).

Many times people see themselves relevant to the people and things in

their lives, thereby defining themselves in a context (Kegan, 1982). It is





17

important to understand that a single definition of identity that is applicable to

all contexts is nonexistent (Kegan, 1982). However, the present study partially

focused upon individual self-concepts and differences perceived before a

disability versus after a disability as influenced by their rehabilitation

processes. For the purpose of this study, identity is defined as a combination

or cluster of experiences which one incorporates within oneself to form a

conceptual whole or complete self image within one's current context (Rangell,

1994).


Disability and Stigmatization

Adventitious disability necessitates that clients learn or relearn to

accomplish goals and daily tasks using residual capabilities (Rubin &

Roessler, 1995; Wright, 1983). After acquiring a disability or handicap due to

accident or illness, normal developmental processes are disrupted. As this

happens, the individual with the incurred disability begins an interchange with

the environment that shapes subsequent psychosocial development. How

people see themselves with their respective disabilities is affected by self-

appraisal and societal stigma. A stigma refers to the appraisal that society

gives to phenomena such as race, religion, sexual preference, disease, and

disability (Deloach, 1994; Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Olkin, 1999). Should the

individual belong to the same groups that most of the population belong to,

then the individual is generally accepted as being "normal" and nonstigmatized

(DeLoach, 1994; Olkin, 1999). However, should the individual possess traits

that deviate from what is considered and accepted as normal, the "normal"





18

population regards such individuals as different. Consequently, people with

disabilities elicit a variety of anxieties from the nondisabled population from pity

and apathy to avoidance and disdain (DeLoach, 1994; Olkin, 1999; Shontz,

1984).

The degree of stigmatization appears to be related to both the context in

which the disabled and nondisabled interact and the nature of the disabling

condition (DeLoach, 1994; Olkin, 1990). A study conducted by Sigelman,

Howell, Cornell, and Cutright (1991) produced findings that people without

disabilities are less likely to consider intimate relationships with people with

any sort of disability or difference. The public seems to be more willing to

consider friendships or work relationships with people with disabilities and

differences (Sigelman et al., 1991). Olkin (1999) found that the public tends to

be more accepting of certain disabilities such as cancer, blindness, or

paraplegia than it is of other disabilities such as drug addiction or AIDS. The

latter disabilities were viewed as controllable and evoked feelings of anger and

blame, whereas the former disabilities evoked sentiments of low responsibility

(Olkin, 1999). The impact of the polar values of independence and humanity is

great on those with disabilities and handicaps. Our culture places a high value

on being independent financially and socially (Rubin & Roessler, 1995).

Although this past century did witness the introduction of policies and

legislature that attempted to create equal access and opportunity for minority

groups, the sentiment of being self-supportive overshadowed efforts that

fostered human interests. In a society such as the United States where





19

personal responsibility and independence are valued, negative public opinion

and perception toward those with abnormalities carries a price. People with

disabilities are left to interpret and incorporate their environment's opinions

about them as the process of adjustment.


Current Disability Models

One model of disability conceptualization is the medical model of

disability. The medical model views disability as a "permanent biological

impediment causing those with disabilities to be less capable than those

without disabilities (Gilson & Depoy, 2000). This paradigm sees the problem

to be addressed by rehabilitation services as within the individual (Gilson &

Depoy, 2000). The medical model encompasses the premises of

rehabilitation. As such, rehabilitation professionals endeavor to restore

individuals with disabilities and foster recovery to a state of desirable

functionality (Gilson & Depoy, 2000).

The social model of disability sees individuals with disabilities not as in

need of restoration or repair but as individuals who add to the diversity of the

human condition (Gilson & Depoy, 2000). This philosophy sets goals of

removing environmental and social barriers, as the problem exists within the

social context and not within the individual with disability. While the shift toward

this paradigm exists, it still competes with the medical model in rehabilitation

contexts (Hill, 1999; Oliver, 1996).

The political model of disability indicates that it is a barrier preventing

people from working. As such, the focus is on people with disabilities and their





20

ability to make economic contributions to society, thereby setting up an

interesting paradox. People with disabilities hold power as a group because of

legislation that defines them, but because value is placed upon economic

contribution, the societal stigma of people with disabilities being less capable

of contributing is perpetuated (Crisp, 2000; Gilson & Depoy, 2000).

Finally, the multicultural model sees individuals with disabilities as a

group that is not bound by the lists of symptoms within their diagnoses but as a

group inclusive within itself because of the societal and political circumstances

forced upon them (Crisp, 2000; Gilson & Depoy, 2000). One underlying theme

that can be derived from all of these models is that people with disabilities are

"under-positioned" socially and politically. In the endeavor to facilitate

adjustment to a disability, the presentation and awareness of these models

lends to a better understanding as to why acceptance of a disability can be a

difficult undertaking (Crisp, 2000; Gilson & Depoy, 2000).


Psychosocial Adjustment to Disability

Adjustment to a disability in American society is often erroneously

perceived as the individual achieving normalization, functioning independently

with the majority of society (Perrin & Nirje, 1985; Rubin & Roessler, 1995). One

common misconception in our society is that of success and normalization

equated with independence. Dependence of any type is viewed negatively,

perpetuated by media and entertainment icons. Self-made individuals are

upheld and praised for being independent from familial and governmental

support (Rubin & Roessler, 1995). In our society, the word "disability" connotes





21

neediness and incompetence, and those with disabilities are seen as needing

support and services. Therefore, it becomes easy for those with disabilities to

be perceived negatively (Fine & Asch, 1988). The message is evident that

dependency is not valued in our society; hence, public perception devalues

those with disabilities. Paradoxically, those who are independent and self-

made are supported at one time with either or both family and government

support. Further, even those who are perceived as successful may have

trouble in areas such as housekeeping, shopping, and managing finances

and therefore may seek assistance (Rubin & Roessler, 1995).

For people with disability, survival becomes a process of assimilating

information from the environment, including devaluation and residual

capabilities into psychosocial adjustment and eventually adaptation. As the

nondisabled public perceives people with disabilities as less valuable, those

who are afflicted with disability absorb and either reject or accept the

devaluation into self-concept (Rubin & Roessler, 1995; Wright, 1983).

Residual capabilities are those abilities that are unaffected within the individual

with incurred disability, whereas the affected domains are those that are

disabled (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). While the focus was upon incorporating

disability into self-concept, past models of adjustment to disability used the

terms "adjustment" and "adaptation" to disability interchangeably such as the

conceptual models proposed by Wright (1983), Vash (1981), and Shontz (1975,

1984).





22

A traumatic disability is usually the result of an accident or sudden

illness causing changes the ability to function in one or several domains and/or

appearance (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). While many theories exist speculating

the psychosocial recovery of the individual, it is agreed that the impact of a

traumatic disability has psychological implications for the individual (Livneh &

Antonak, 1997). One of the earlier attempts to conceptualize adjustment to

disability was presented by Dembo, Leviton, and Wright (1956) as a coping

framework. The coping framework listed characteristics that foster adjustment

of an individual with disability. These characteristics included emphasis on

residual capabilities, being proactive with shaping one's life, acknowledging

personal accomplishments, managing negative experiences, minimizing

environmental limitations, and participating in avocational or vocational

activities (Dembo, Leviton, & Wright, 1956, 1975; Livneh & Antonak, 1997). This

coping framework was opposite of a succumbing framework or mindset.

Those who succumbed to the effects of a disability rather than trying to

minimize the effects were viewed as succumbing.


Earlier Adjustment Paradigms

Wright (1983) expanded these writings and suggested that acceptance

or adjustment is the ability to minimize perceived or actual loss while retaining

value of residual capabilities (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). The difference between

perceived and actual loss is the same as the disabled individual's

interpretation of the lost functions versus what is actually lost (Livneh &

Antonak, 1997; Wright, 1983). Because the acceptance of a disability involves





23

the victim's interpretation, Wright equates psychosocial adjustment with

acceptance versus denial of the incurred disability (Wright, 1983). She

proposed four changes that the individual must make in order to limit self-

depreciation and maximize adjustment. These changes include identifying

values unaffected by disability, minimizing the importance of physical

appearance, confining the effects of disability to only the affected areas, and

transitioning values from being externally based to internally based (Livneh &

Antonak, 1997; Wright, 1983).

Shontz (1989) supported a form of qualitative inquiry that allowed the

researcher to examine experiences from the perspectives of survivor. Shontz's

"personology" approach used representative case studies to observe the

perceptions of people pertaining to their choices, experiences, motivation,

conflicts, and possibilities rather than environmental causalities (Shontz,

1989). The goals of personological research sought to enhance the ability of

researchers to gather data about contextual considerations, facilitate

understanding the human perspective, and develop effective ways of applying

theories to the individual rather than the masses (Shontz, 1989). In addition to

his philosophy of research with people with disabilities, Shontz offered his view

of adjustment.

Similar to Wright, he stated that adjustment was a dual process that

encompassed, first, the abilities of people to maximize environmental

opportunities and, second, the environment providing accommodations.

Shontz (1975) stated that adjustment was the last stage of a reaction process





24

to incurring a disability that is congruent with the subjective perception of the

external environment. He suggested that adjustment is optimized when the

environment and the subjective realities of people or compatible. As the

environment and individual accommodate and acclimate to one another, then

adaptation is achieved (Shontz, 1975, 1989). Last, Shontz maintained that the

best consultants when researching rehabilitation issues are those who

actually have experienced the targeted malady first hand, dubbed the "insiders"

by Beatrice Wright in 1983 (Gordon & Shontz, 1990; Wright, 1983). All

individuals who observe the victim of acquired disability, whether they are a part

of the treatment team, the family support system, or virtual strangers, are

"outsiders." These individuals are all a part of the environment providing

feedback and impressions, intentionally or unintentionally, to insiders, thereby

affecting adjustment (Dembo, Leviton, & Wright, 1975; Wright, 1983).

Vash (1981) conceptualized the process of adjusting to a disability as

normal reactions to abnormal stimuli. Vash (1981) stated that the normal

reaction is the psychological process of acclimating to an injury, while the

accident or illness itself is the abnormal stimuli. She seemed to readily accept

the reaction of the individual as unconditionally normal, while the environment

is not always accepting of those reactions. While Vash, Shontz, and Wright

differed in how they conceptualized adjustment to disability, they all agreed that

a variety of factors affect adjusting to illness or injury. Existing before the

disability was acquired, these identified factors influence adjustment

processes after illness or disability is incurred. According to Vash, these





25

determinants fall into three categories: external factors such as the

environment, the type and severity of disability, and internal factors such

personality and self-concept (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Schlossberg, 1981;

Vash, 1981; Wright, 1983).

As an individual acquires a disabling illness or condition and reacts to it,

the environment provides feedback to the reactions in two ways. First,

sentiment toward handicaps and disabilities is reflected by the construction

and implementation of concrete, physical objects (Vash, 1981). For instance,

adjustments are made to the physical environment by inserting elevators and

ramps when stairs are impassable or by developing a relay hearing service

when telephone use is impeded. These environmental adjustments are

concrete and static, representing the paradoxical attitudes of normalized

society. Hence, culture and environment have a large role and responsibility in

defining disabilities and attitudes toward them (Vash, 1981; Wright, 1983).

Those physical objects designed to enhance accessibility were designed and

implemented by engineers and architects who shaped and therefore defined

an environment (Vash, 1981; Wright, 1983).

A second type of environmental feedback comes from people and their

attitudes. These attitudes are influenced by societal values and customs

interwoven with attempts to reverse the underlying tone of rejection or

nonacceptance toward those who are different (Olkin, 1999; Vash, 1981). Vash

attributed these attitudinal barriers to several factors including over-evaluation

of physique, under-evaluation of spirituality, societal tendency of blaming the





26

victim, and assuming that mourning the loss of function has to take place

(Vash, 1981).

Another determinant affecting psychosocial functioning is the nature of

the injury or disability. The type of disability seems to influence the perceptions

of the survivor and the public. For instance, auto-immune deficiency syndrome

(AIDS) carries a more negative stigma than pancreatitis, both of which involve

immune system malfunction (Olkin, 1999). Severity and age of occurrence and

visibility of the disability affect rehabilitation treatment planning, as well as

public perception (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Olkin, 1999; Vash, 1981). Those

who look different or abnormal generally are believed to be more handicapped

than those with invisible disabilities (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Shontz, 1985;

Wright, 1983).

For those facing terminal illness, rehabilitation objectives include getting

affairs in order, grief and bereavement counseling for family members,

lessening the demands of vocational activities, and focusing on avocational

activities (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). Those who incur non-life-threatening

disease or injury experience shifts in psychosocial functioning such as

changing jobs or physical activities. As the ramifications of the incurred

maladies are drastically different, so are the intrapsychological variables of the

individual. The previously mentioned variables are constant for both groups;

however, the utilization may be different. For instance, cancer patients who are

in denial about the lethality of cancer may hasten their deaths if ignored or

refused. Similarly, brain-injured patients who are in denial about their injuries





27

may need additional attention from rehabilitation staff and family to insure

individual safety.

Personal characteristics such as self-concept, gender, and values

inherently affect perceptions and adjustment to incurred disability (Livenh &

Antonak, 1997). Self-concept refers to how one sees oneself (Livneh, 1997;

Schlossberg, 1981; Wright, 1983; Vash, 1981). Self-concept formation begins

early in life and forms by integrating self -knowledge gained by assimilating

feedback from the environment with sensory experience and cognition.

Influenced by developmental and social learning theories, Wright (1983)

described the formation of self-concept and self-esteem as an integrative

process that continually evolves, influenced by the individual perceptions of self

and feedback from the environment. These characteristics comprise what

Wright (1983) described as the inside perspective. The effect of having been

traumatized is then affected greatly by the insider perspectives or perceived

control over the situation (Wright, 1983). Locus of control refers to how

individuals perceive their sense of control of and in the world (Rotter, 1971). An

individual with a high external locus of control believes that fate and the

environment control circumstances, which connotes that the individual is a

victim of the environment. An individual with a high internal locus of control

believes that the ability to control circumstances lies within the self (Livneh &

Antonak, 1997). The personal philosophy that the individual adopts tends to

affect adaptation to disability significantly, according to research (Livneh &

Antonak, 1997; Wright, 1983).





28

Many studies assess the relationship between locus of control and level

of adjustment to disability. For example, Roberta Trieschmann (1989)

investigated numerous personality traits and their relationship to positive

adjustment to spinal chord injury. She found that those individuals with a

higher internal locus of control had more positive adjustment. Levenson

(1975) expanded upon Rotter's locus of control concept and determined that

three categories exist, including internality, influence of powerful other, and

chance occurrences. The additional category accounted for those catastrophic

events that are caused by chance, such as weather catastrophes or other

accidents (Levenson, 1975).

Krause, Stanwick, and Maides (1998) conducted further research with

spinal chord injury patients to determine, among other things, the relationship

between internality or internal locus of control and adjustment, short and long

term, to the disability. The results showed that those with higher locus of

control had a favorable emotional outcome. Likewise, the results also showed

that those influenced by powerful others with higher external locus of control

had more difficulties emotionally (Krause et al., 1998). Other researchers have

examined and determined that those with higher internal locus of control tend

to take more responsibility in all aspects of having incurred a disability. These

individuals tend to self-blame or own the occurrence of disability. Likewise,

they also actively set goals and expectations of themselves in order to succeed

in achieving life goals and/or treatment goals. This is similar to a phenomenon

known as "efficacy," referring to the potential expectations and goals that a





29

person has for oneself (Bandura, 1977). Other adjustment theories maintain

that individuals who experience trauma and subsequent disability must

experience or do experience emotional phenomena such as depression,

anger, or denial in order to achieve adjustment and adaptation that are typically

seen in phase models (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).


The Phase Models

The phase models find roots in earlier adjustment models such as the

model for adjustment and adaptation to grief and dying introduced by Kubler-

Ross (1969). In this model, characteristics that were common in the

adjustment processes of dying patients and their families were introduced as

phases including shock, denial, anger, depression, and acceptance (Kubler-

Ross, 1969).

The phase models maintain that humans experience certain emotional

reactions to trauma and illness when adventitious disabilities occur. These

reactions include shock, anxiety, denial, depression, internalized anger,

externalized hostility, acknowledgement, and adjustment (Livneh & Antonak,

1997) (Appendix F). Studies reveal all or a combination of these phases may

be present and that the phases do not occur sequentially, necessarily (Livneh

& Antonak, 1997). For instance, Livneh and Antonak (1991) found that

reactions to disability were nonlinear, multidimensional, and hierarchical. The

results of the study showed the ordering of phases including maladaptive

reactions that blended in with the hypothesized order of adaptive reactions.

This study found relationships among the variables that varied with time. For





30

instance, anxiety and depression had different intensities after time passed

(Livneh & Antonak, 1991). The phase model also makes several assumptions.

For instance, permanent, significant changes and psychological dissonance

must be experienced, and the phases do not occur in sequence or in isolation

of other phases (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).

Shock is a common initial response to overwhelming physical and

psychological trauma and may be experienced physically or psychologically as

a numbing, confusing, depersonalized, or retarded state of being (Livneh &

Antonak, 1997). Anxiety is another response to trauma and is experienced as

irritability or heightened emotion after initially learning of the incurred trauma or

illness. Physiological reactions may coincide with this phase, such as rapid

pulse, breathing difficulties, or non-productive hyperactivity, for instance, that

may heighten the individual's state of shock (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).

Denial as a reaction to disability is usually seen as a coping phase or

stage experienced by an individual during the rehabilitation process. Billings

and Moos (1981) outlined a two-faceted conceptual model of coping with

denial. In facet one, the process of coping has three components. The first

component focuses on appraisal of situation and is affected by logical

analysis, cognitive redefinition, avoidance, and denial of the crisis life event

incurred. The second component focuses on problems and how to solve them

in the external sense, such as through support systems or resource availability.

The third component focuses upon the emotionality of the individual, such as

affective regulation or acceptance level. The second facet is comprised of three





31

components including active-cognitive, active-behavioral, and avoidance

(Billings & Moos, 1981).

Denial is controversial according to some researchers and practitioners

who view it as a phase of the recovery process after an individual has

experienced crisis. Others view denial as a distortion of reality in an effort to

alleviate anxiety. Freud (1936) believed that it operates unconsciously and

therefore is inaccessible with insight. Wright (1983) discussed denial in her

model of rehabilitation, stating that denial could be viewed or renamed as "as

if' behavior. "As if' behavior is when the individual with illness or disability acts

as if it did not exist or attempts to minimize the effects of such (Wright, 1983).

She believed that doing so is valuable because the individual is allowed to

slowly acclimate to the reality of adventitious injury or disease. Some

researchers believe that denial may be an important survival mechanism when

faced with extreme distress or anxiety elicited by crisis (Langer, 1994). While

denial may initially aid in assimilating the occurrence of disability into belief and

reality, its continuance leads to dysfunction and potential danger (Langer,

1994). The denial of a disability or illness may create danger for the individual

or others if the individual attempts to do tasks that are no longer possible due

to limitations and handicaps (Langer, 1994).

Feelings of hopelessness, despair, and grief have been observed as

common reactions to acquired disability. Other common depressive

symptoms that comprise the depression phase are self-devaluation, isolation,

despair, and helplessness that may be experienced after realizing that





32

permanent loss or change has taken place (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Rodin,

Craven, & Littlefield, 1991).

Internalized anger is listed as a phase that involves self-blame and

resentment. Typically, individuals who experience this phase are in some way

responsible for the occurrence that caused disability. Suicidal ideation and

self-injurious behavior may occur during this phase as a result. For example,

Heinemann and Shontz (1984) described a case study of a male who acquired

paraplegia due to a hang-gliding accident. The young man was viewed as

extremely compliant through rehabilitation as he wished to appear to take

responsibility for the accident with no regrets but also minimized his disability.

A year later, he was re-hospitalized for a failed suicide attempt, having

experienced intense feelings of depression, hopelessness, and self-blame

(Heinemann & Shontz, 1984). Externalized anger is hostility that is directed

toward aspects of the environment, people, or objects believed to be related to

or caused the disabling condition. Examples of externalized anger are

passive-aggressive acts, abusive accusations, feelings of antagonism, and

blame directed at others (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).

In the acknowledgment phase, individuals recognize that the conditions

imposed by disability are permanent. Individuals begin to re-orient themselves

with the environment as a process of integrating old and new self-concepts

ensues (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Olkin, 1999). Finally, adjustment refers to the

emotional and cognitive reconciliation that the acquired disabling condition is

permanent, triggering a process of re-acclimation with the environment. In this





33

phase, the individual who has adjusted has established a renewed sense of

self-value, carries out new vocational and social goals, recognizes new and old

potentials and talents, and overcomes obstacles in pursuit of new goals

(Livneh & Antonak, 1997).

Livneh and Antonak (1997) maintained that these phases overlap and

even occur concurrently to the extent that they suggest that the process of

adjustment and adaptation occur simultaneously (Livneh, 1986; Livneh &

Antonak, 1997). After incurring a disability, adjustments begin occurring

immediately, both consciously and unconsciously, for the patient. As this

process begins, so does a reciprocal relationship between the individual with

the environment. The individual may try through trial and error to attain daily

functioning goals while the environment gives feedback (Wright, 1983). Livneh

and Antonak's Model of Adaptation to Disability (1997) attempted to portray a

model of adaptation that is more integrative than the phase models (Livneh &

Antonak, 1997) (Appendix F).

In understanding the internal and external factors affecting psychosocial

adjustment, the age of onset of disability, the individual's internal or external

locus of control, and interactions with the surrounding environment before the

accident affect how the individual adjusts after disability has incurred. To gain

a better understanding of how individuals go through the adjustment process,

psychological theories including social learning theory and developmental

theories can be viewed in conjunction with phase models of adjustment.





34

Personality Theories, Psychosocial Adjustment, and Rehabilitation

The groundwork had been broken in field of psychology during the 20th

century leading to further exploration down different paths including

rehabilitation and adjustment. Theories of psychology attempted to explain and

understand personality, cognitive and emotional domains, and the experiences

affecting the perceptions and decisions of individuals. As adjustment is

acknowledged as a part of various life situations, rehabilitation could not ignore

the psychosocial ramifications of acquiring disability. In order to understand

foundational elements brain injury rehabilitation, it is worthwhile to examine

theories that help to explain elements that constitute behavior such as

cognition, emotion, and personality traits in conjunction with adjustment

models.

There are many theories that have been generated as an attempt to

explain and understand human behavior and personality. Several have been

chosen to discuss to exemplify frameworks of understanding behavior through

qualitative inquiry and adjustment to disability. The theories focused upon in

this study are Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory, Erik Erikson's

developmental models, and Marcia's middle adulthood developmental model.


Social Learning Theory

Albert Bandura (1986) developed a theory of learning and behavior

derived from behavioral theories such as classical conditioning and operant

conditioning. Whereas classical conditioning was concerned with responses

to conditional stimuli, operant conditioning was concerned with antecedents





35

and consequences of behavior. What is important to notice is that the

purposes of these approaches were concerned with stimuli external to the

individual, thereby ignoring the internal processes of the individual.

Bandura maintained that human cognition and vicarious experiences

also affect behavior and that it is the result of a triad of the environment,

behavior, and covert individual processes interacting simultaneously (Bandura,

1997). Bandura maintained that in this triad one factor is always affected by the

other two and that cognition, comprised of motivations, thought, and emotion,

act together to determine behavior, thereby outlining Social Learning Theory

(Bandura, 1997).

From Bandura's social learning theory came the term "efficacy," referring

to the perceived ability and competency to carry out desired tasks. This means

that the ability of an individual to accomplish a task is affected by the level of

belief one has in oneself to accomplish it (Bandura, 1986). This relates to

incurring a disability in that the individual sets goals based on the belief of

one's abilities or residual capacities. Residual capabilities are those

capabilities one retains or discovers following adventitious illness or disability

(Wright, 1983). For instance, after traumatic brain injury is acquired, changes

occur cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally, caused by the unpredictable

progression of edema and hemorrhaging from the impact (Chadwick, 1985;

Cook, 1992). After the brain-injured patient becomes aware of the transpired

changes, new efficacy goals evolve.





36

The social stigma caused by a disability affects identity resolution

(Susman, 1994; Wright, 1983; Vash, 1981). The response by the environment

to the disability is many times negative or deviant (Strauser, 1995; Susman,

1994). Barring denial that would hamper achieving recovery goals, the

expectations of efficacy may be altered and changed by four things according to

Bandura (1986). These include performance accomplishment, vicarious

experiences, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal (Bandura, 1977).

Performance accomplishment is simply the mastering of tasks set before the

individual. The achievement of such fosters positive expectations for further

achievement to ensue (Bandura, 1977). Vicarious experiences are the

observations of role models with similar conditions as the individual (Bandura,

1977). Once individuals observe other similar individuals accomplishing

tasks, safety and the expectancy of positive outcome become possible

(Bandura, 1977). Verbal persuasions are the suggestions and empowerment

of individuals to succeed, thereby increasing efficacy expectation (Strauser,

1995). Finally, emotional arousal, if negative, adversely affects positive efficacy

expectations and visa versa (Bandura, 1977).

Therefore, rehabilitation interventions should focus on fostering high

efficacy expectations and providing compatible interventions (Strauser, 1995).

Further, should lowered self-evaluation and lowered efficacy expectations exist,

then interventions such as group counseling and empowerment techniques

should be employed by the rehabilitation professionals involved (Strauser,

1995).





37

Ego Identity Developmental Theories

Erikson. Adjustment may be viewed through the developmental theories

of Erikson and Marcia upon acquiring a disability or chronic illness. Individuals

are forced to incorporate the changes brought on by the disability cognitively,

emotionally, and socially, thereby affecting the developmental process. Erik

Erikson (1963) first developed the concept of ego identity development,

believing that individuals pass through a series of stages with developmental

tasks to be accomplished in each stage. His conceptualization of how identity

forms includes a tripartite relationship among biological, psychological, and

societal processes that he developed in response to Freud's psychosexual,

developmental stages (Kroger, 1993, pp. 1-20). Erikson saw Freud's

psychosexual stages of development as limiting in that Freud focused more on

processes that happened within the individual with little emphasis upon the

reciprocal relationship between the person and environment.

Therefore, Erikson proposed a developmental model of identity d

purporting that individuals are given a set of tasks to achieve in eight

developmental stages that encompass the life span (Kroger, 1993, pp. 1-20). If

individuals accomplish the tasks within each developmental stage, then

positive attitudes toward the self and environment develop. If individuals fail to

accomplish the tasks in each stage, then potentially debilitating beliefs toward

the self and environment develop (Kroger, 1993, pp. 1-20). Last, in each stage,

the potential exists for achieving certain values by striving for positive resolution

between polar attitudes. For instance, the first stage is "basic mistrust versus





38

trust," occurring the first year of life during which the infant and caregiver

establish whether the world is trustworthy as the infant's needs are met

(Erikson, 1982, 1997). The value to be attained in this stage is hope (Erikson,

1982, 1997).

The second stage, ages 1 to 3 years old, is "shame and doubt versus

autonomy," during which the child attempts to master tasks and assert will.

The value to be attained at the second stage is "will" (Erikson, 1982, 1997).

The third stage is called "guilt versus initiative," where toddlers attempt to

master their bodies and the world around them. The value to be attained in the

third stage is "purpose" (Erikson, 1982, 1997). The value to be attained in the

fourth stage is "competence." During the fourth stage, "industry versus

inferiority," children learn about themselves as workers, especially related to

schoolwork and tasks. The fifth stage, "identity confusion versus identity,"

encompasses adolescent-aged youth who are trying to explore the boundaries

of themselves in relation to society. Individuals in this stage are concerned

with defining the possible and potential parameters of identity. The value to be

attained in the fifth stage is "fidelity" (Erikson, 1982, 1997).

The sixth stage is "isolation versus intimacy" during which young adults

have made commitments to identity and now seek relationships characterized

by reciprocal love and devotion. The value to be attained in this sixth stage is to

find love (Erikson, 1982, 1997). The seventh stage encompasses the middle

adult years and is characterized by a want to give or teach others for the greater

societal good. In this stage of "generativity versus stagnation," individuals carry





39

out their generative needs by raising children or being civically involved for

example. The value to be attained in the seventh stage is to demonstrate

caring for others. The eighth stage, "despair and disgust versus integrity,"

includes the senior years and is when individuals reflect over their lives and

decide whether their lives have been productive and worthwhile. The last value

to be obtained is wisdom (Erikson, 1982, 1997).

Marcia. James Marcia initiated research in college settings in order to

identify how young and middle adults resolve conflicts and commit to identities.

He proposed that four identity statuses exist to represent how individuals cope

with the conflicts that arise in resolving identity. These statuses, or types of

commitment, include foreclosed identity status, the identity diffuse individual,

the identity in moratorium, and individual with achieved identity. According to

Marcia (1999), individuals with foreclosed identity have not explored oneself or

relational conflicts but have made commitment to identity. Such individuals

tend to be less mature, preferring involvement stereotypical and superficial

relationships and endeavors (Marcia, 1993, 1999).

Individuals who are identity diffuse are those who have not encountered

crises and have made no commitments to identity. Such individuals have

considered different possibilities but have not engaged any particular conflict or

crisis (Marcia, 1999). Individuals with moratorium identity status have

encountered conflicts but have not made commitments to identity. Achieved

identity is the fourth ego identity status at which point individuals have

encountered crises and made commitments to identity (Marcia, 1993, 1999).





40

Individuals in moratorium and achieved identity status tend to be more mature

in behavior and decision making processes (Marcia, 1993, 1999). These four

statuses represent ways that adults reconcile different life crises, such as

incurring a disability and then committing to decisions. As mentioned

previously, making decisions affects and shapes development and adjustment

accordingly (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; McAdams, 1993; Wright, 1983)

The purpose of understanding and facilitating adjustment is to help

individuals achieve optimal functioning after disability is acquired. This is the

concept that encompasses rehabilitation. The issues, models, and theories

that explain the processes of adjustment to disability set forth parameters with

which to understand and plan for adjustment to occur (Maki & Riggar, 1997).


Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation Defined

Individuals, whether disabled or not, spend their initial years building a

repertoire of knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and experiences. The individual

is participating in a learning and foundation-building process known as

"habilitation" (Maki & Riggar, 1997; Wright, 1983). This foundational knowledge

is used as a reference point during rehabilitation treatment planning for both

the individuals with incurred disability, who remember how they were before,

and the rehabilitation team (Wright, 1983). Rehabilitation focuses upon

maximizing client's levels of functional independence in order to re-assimilate

into societal roles as independently as possible (Maki & Riggar, 1997; Olkin,

1999). Therefore, rehabilitation endeavors to return individuals with





41

adventitious injury or illness to optimal states of functioning. Idealistically, a

team of rehabilitation professionals such as medical doctors, nurses,

occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech pathologists,

psychologists, and rehabilitation counselors works with the rehabilitation

candidates to achieve goals set by the patients in specific areas of functioning

including psychological, vocational, sociological, and physical spheres (Purtilo,

1991; Olkin, 1999). Rehabilitation team members form a collaborative,

cohesive bond to work toward client goals; however, issues may arise that

work against the morals and ethics of the team concept (Maki & Riggar, 1997;

Naji, 1975).


Rehabilitation Goals and Confounding Variables

The goal of the team is to foster patient autonomy by honoring the

desired outcomes goals of patients. By giving the client this autonomous role,

the team empowers and acknowledges that patients are the rightful and

rational owners of their destinies. The team, therefore, acts to respect patient

autonomy, upholding the beneficiance morality (Purtilo, 1991). The team holds

discussions that consider patient welfare, focusing upon the individuals'

abilities to set reasonable, achievable goals. Upon finding that the individual is

making harmful or irrational decisions, the team may decide to impose

opinions, a concept known as paternalism (Purtilo, 1991). The paternalistic

dynamic of the rehabilitation team is controversial because, when employing

paternalism, the team endeavors to maintain a standard that allows client

autonomy, known as "beneficiance." However, the team may, at times, exclude





42

the client or guide the client along traditional or "well-traveled" treatment plans,

thereby limiting client input and possible potential (Purtilo, 1991). Having a

rehabilitation team supposedly allows a system of checks and balances that

function to prevent diversions from the standards of "benefiance" (Purtilo,

1991). Unforeseen dynamics may influence the group such as reliance upon a

set of prescribed treatments, instead of individualizing the treatment plan. In

other words, rehabilitation professionals are prone to fall into a treatment rut

and are uncomfortable with deviations despite the fact that every client is

different. For instance, with traumatic brain injuries, assumptions that the client

lacks understanding or awareness may occur, prompting a professional to

make recommendations accordingly. Though the client may have experienced

deficits, awareness and judgment may be intact. In such instances, the

professionals believed to be acting in the best welfare of patients may be

inadvertently limiting client potentials (Purtilo, 1991).

Another negative phenomenon known to occur is for the team to "cover

for' or go along with" the weakness of a member or members of the team

(Purtilo, 1991). At this point, agendas other than facilitating clients toward their

goals are being served. Second, team members may become biased as a

consequence of either liking or disliking a patient (Purtilo, 1991). A premise of

paternalism maintains that paternalism is justifiable when it fosters patient

dignity and potential (Morrison, 1991; Purtilo, 1991). Such objectives assist

rehabilitation professionals in adhering to values existing in the autonomy-

beneficience team approach (Purtilo, 1991).





43

Inclusion and Consumerism

In practicing consumerism inclusion, it is vital to include the client in

treatment goal planning and in collecting data about perceptions, attitudes, and

experiences encountered during the rehabilitation process. Rehabilitation

programs regularly boast including the insider in the planning and

implementation goals and even agree that maximum involvement by the

consumer fosters optimal recovery (Chan et al., 1997). However, because of

previously mentioned cultural, attitudinal, political, and financial barriers, true

client/consumer involvement is, at times, an idealistic sentiment (McAlees &

Menz, 1992). In addition, previous studies that indicated high levels of client

satisfaction with rehabilitation treatment measured variables in a skewed

fashion (Bativia & Dejong, 1990; Heppner & Claiborn, 1989; Richard, 2000).

Bativia and Dejong (1990) conducted evaluative studies of past

quantitative studies that reported high levels of consumer satisfaction and

found that the large majority of such studies measured satisfaction as a single

construct on issues that were important to clinicians and providers rather than

the clients. Research that defined satisfaction as multi-dimensional had

higher rates of consumer dissatisfaction with rehabilitation services as

constructs were explored that mattered to the clients (Richard, 2000; Singh,

1990). Other research conducted by Crisp (2000) that found that perception

toward social stigma played a role in client satisfaction with rehabilitation.

Those that believed they were oppressed by society due to having a disability





44

were less satisfied with rehabilitation treatment than those who de-

emphasized their disabilities (Crisp, 2000).

In determining whether clients are satisfied with rehabilitation goals and

treatment plans, an obvious source to turn to is the client (Richard, 2000).

Rehabilitation alleges to rely heavily upon the concepts of client efficacy derived

from the teachings of Bandura (1977) who purported that individuals, given the

right conditions, strive toward their expected optimal selves and functioning

(Caeser, 1997; Richard, 2000). In remaining true to the premises and

purposes of rehabilitation to return individuals to optimal states of functioning,

expectations of the client must be observed and included (Chan et al., 1997;

Richard, 2000; Wright, 1983). In summary, the concept of inclusion begins

during implementation of rehabilitation or habilitation treatment goals.


Policies and Legislation

Ancient Policies

Historically, attitudes toward those with disabilities were unforgiving,

uncharitable, and inhumane as religions and philosophies of many early

societies prevented positive attitudes toward inhabitants with disabilities. The

disabled were those people whose functioning deviated significantly from the

majority population in the areas of intellectual functioning, physical functioning,

physical appearance, and behaviors (Covey, 1998; Rubin & Roessler, 1995).

Such individuals were shunned, ostracized, and considered liabilities by many

early societies. In some earlier and present societies, those with disabilities





45

were and are believed disdained by God, hence earning His wrath and

damnation (Covey, 1998; Olkin, 1999; Rubin & Roessler, 1995).

The early Greeks placed importance upon body-soul unity, connoting a

damaged soul if the body is damaged or abnormal in some manner. Eugenics

was practiced, leaving children and adults with abnormalities to be eliminated

by the elements propagating stronger, more normal individuals (Covey, 1998;

Mackelprang & Salsgiver, 1996). The Romans tolerated those with mental

disabilities in only the elite upper classes while all others were considered

burdens and were discarded, though treatment receptacles did exist (Covey,

1998; Rubin & Roessler, 1995). Perceptions of those with mental disability in

ancient and medieval were that the individual is inhabited by demons or the

devil. During the 16th century, attitudes shifted from that of the individual being

possessed by demons to the individual being sick (Covey, 1998). Through the

rise of Christianity and Catholicism to the present, the church as socially

affected public perception of people with disabilities (Covey, 1998).


Renaissance Policies

Housing for those with abnormalities began to arise as asylums in

Europe. The public was charged admission for a glance of an individual with

the disability in these asylums, ancestor to the circus (Rubin & Roessler,

1995). Conditions of the asylums were often unsanitary and treatment of the

inhabitants was less than humane (Covey, 1998; Rubin & Roessler, 1995).

Training for those with mental retardation existed in the 17th century and

documentation of teaching the deaf can also be found, marking evidence of





46

early forms of rehabilitation post-renaissance (Covey, 1998; Rubin & Roessler,

1995). In the 17th and 18th centuries, schools for the deaf and blind arose

indicating further efforts to create productive environments for those with certain

disabilities. This trend was a reaction to the rise of Christianity in earlier

centuries. As benevolent as such efforts were, society and Christian beliefs

still shunned those with mental and severe abnormalities. Families that had

members who were disabled tried to hide them so as not to ruin chances of

marriage for normal family members (Covey, 1998).


19th Century to Present Policies

As a result of the Social Darwinism movement in the 19th century, the

concept that self-worth correlates to the level of monetary income earned was

an engraved belief in American society (Covey, 1998; Rubin & Roessler, 1995).

The underlying philosophy was that in order to have worth in society, people

must contribute to society through work and productivity (Covey, 1998; Rubin &

Roessler, 1995). Culture in the United States placed lesser value on

contributions to society that do not earn paychecks such as childcare, home

maintenance, and home financial management, thus devaluing activities as

such. Though these were necessary and valuable services, they were viewed

as of lesser importance than contributions involving financial productivity

(Buchanan, 1990). Evidence of this sentiment was seen in public laws such

as the Smith-Fess Act of 1920 that provided rehabilitation services for those

individuals for whom there existed some vocational potential, thus eliminating

aid for those deemed unemployable (Hahn, 1987).





47

The perspectives represented by this sentiment presented a dilemma

for the individual with incurred disability. Either the individual adopted the

attitude of helplessness and devaluation or the opposite attitude of minimizing

the incurred deficits and maximizing goal attainment (Rubin & Roessler, 1995;

Wright, 1983). Crisp (2000) found four profiles of people with disabilities after

conducting qualitative inquiry of perceptions of rehabilitation by those with

disabilities. These profile included "battlers" who saw themselves as

unhelpable and victims of their predicaments. "Strugglers" were those who

saw their disabilities as major disruptions to life whereas "contenders" de-

emphasized or redefined their disabilities. Finally, "optimizers" acknowledged

their disabilities while de-emphasizing its impact and accommodating with the

environment (Crisp, 2000).

The purpose of having rehabilitation public policies and delivery systems

in place was to create equal access to opportunities which could maximize the

potential to achieve goals (Gilson & Depoy, 2000; Perrin & Nirje, 1985).

Though such policies reflected sentiments that sympathize with those with

disabilities, adherence to policies fostered the notion that those with

disabilities must be "normalized" into society (Crisp, 2000). This notion

suggested the more archaic thinking that individuals with disabilities are weak,

of lesser ability, or crippled that is reflected in the medical model's definition of

people with disabilities outlined by Gilson and Depoy (2000). Such thinking

was the trend at the turn of the 20th century, however.





48

Current laws and attitudes reflect modern beliefs and trends toward

humanism and inclusion that occurred early in the 20th century (Covey, 1998).

Rehabilitation became a recognized profession in the 20th century as a result

of concurrent changes and events such as advances in medical technologies

in institutions, industrialization, and the World Wars. During the early 20th

century war efforts, people with disabilities were hired into the work force. It

was noticed that such individuals were capable of making production rates

despite their handicaps. After World War II, mortality rates decreased as a

result of medical advances making re-assimilation into the work force for

disabled veterans necessary (Covey, 1998; Mackelprang & Salsgiver, 1996;

Zunker, 1998).

Earlier public policies such as the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917, the

Soldier's Rehabilitation Act of 1918, and the Smith-Fess Act of 1920 were

impetuses for evolving public laws and policies. The Smith-Hughes Act of

1917 provided federal dollars to match state dollars spent on vocational

education as a result of the nation's trend from ruralization toward

industrialization. The Soldier's Rehabilitation Act of 1918 was the first federal

program designated for the purpose of vocationally rehabilitating disabled

veterans. Pensions were paid to veterans disabled in any activity while in the

service dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Vocational rehabilitation

was provided only to those deemed to be employable after receiving services

(Rubin & Roessler, 1995). The Smith-Fess Act of 1920 was the first civilian





49

program launched for persons with disabilities providing vocational

rehabilitation for those deemed to be employable (Rubin & Roessler, 1995).

The Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1954 enacted by

President Eisenhower significantly increased funding for the vocational

rehabilitation movement for those with mental and physical handicaps by

creating funding for the training of rehabilitation professionals (Rubin &

Roessler, 1995, p. 33). Later, Social Security amendments and vocational

rehabilitation amendments created income for those unable to work and

assistance for those able to return to work in some capacity (Rubin & Roessler,

1995, p. 37). Other disability legislation contributed toward inclusion and

socio-political equality, including the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 that

stated that all federally financed and constructed transportation facilities or

buildings must be accessible and useable by people with mobile, visual, and

auditory disabilities (Fleischer & Zames, 1998).

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibited businesses and

employers who received federal funds from discriminating on the basis of

physical or mental disabilities. This bill utilized the concepts developed in Title

IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibited discrimination based on race,

ethnicity and religion (Fleischer & Zames, 1998; Rubin & Roessler, 1995). The

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1975 provided that children

with disabilities receive a free, public education with the least restrictive

environment (Fleischer & Zames, 1998). The Fair Housing Act Amendments

1988 stated that discrimination against people with disabilities was prohibited





50

in housing sales, rentals, or financing such housing. Further, landlords were

required to make reasonable accommodations of existing premises and new

buildings must be accessible (Fleischer & Zames, 1998; West, 1991).

These laws paved the way for more recent antidiscrimination laws such

as the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 signed by President George Bush.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was important legislation

created after information was gathered from three Senate hearings, 63 public

hearings, and surveys issued by Louis Harris and Associates in 1986 that

indicted multiple injustices occurring to peoples with disabilities (Rubin &

Roessler, 1995, p. 85). The ADA of 1990 opened the door wider for the

disabled to access mainstream society and ensured that enforceable

standards exist (Rubin & Roessler, 1995, p. 85). The Americans With

Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 addressed discrimination concerns congruent

with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 of the

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was criterion based in that it required that an

individual possess an impairment, physical or mental, causing substantial

limitations for daily life; that the impairment be documented; and that the

individual be regarded as having an impairment (Adams, 1991). From a

condensed legal perspective, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

utilized the language of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 defining a

disability as follows:

(1) A mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one
or more of the major life activities of that person, (2) a record of the
impairment(s), and (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
(p. 12111)





51

The Americans with Disibilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibited

discrimination and disqualification of an individual from hire who with

reasonable accommodations could perform the tasks of the job in both the

public and private hiring sectors. It also provided for equal access to public

services and facilities causing physical barriers to be modified to enhance

accessibility. Last, it mandated that accommodations be made to enhance

access to telecommunications (Adams, 1991; Fleischer & Zames, 1998; Rubin

& Roessler, 1995; Zunker, 1998).

These more recent laws reflect changes in attitudes by people with

disabilities and the public that are reflected in the social and political models of

viewing people with disabilities. This more modern epistemology states that

disabilities are caused by the failure to remove environmental barriers, thereby

imposing obstacles and social restrictions (Crisp, 2000; Gilson & Depoy,

2000). Advocacy groups for those with disabilities strive for inclusion by

increasing awareness among businesses that making their businesses

accessible will increase revenues. However, this sentiment is opposed as

studies show that employers fear that having people with disabilities and

abnormalities in their businesses will drive consumers away (Condeluci,

1995).

Nevertheless, employers are given incentives such as tax breaks to hire

those with disabilities and are also encouraged to retrain injured employees in

order to keep their workman's compensation insurance from rising.

Employers express concerns regarding costs of special accommodations,





52

effect of accommodations on work schedules and fellow employees' attitudes

and concern regarding productivity levels being adversely affected (Roessler &

Sumner, 1997). The latter concerns of employers and entrepreneurs reflect

the pervasive avoidance of inclusion of people with disabilities. A more recent

study by Hernandez, Keys, and Balcazar (2000) that examined the impact of the

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 on employer attitudes found that overall

employers were more willing to hire people with disabilities. The study did

show that increases in employment of those with disabilities has occurred over

the last 10 years, but a significant gap exists between positive attitudes toward

hiring people with disabilities and actual hiring rates suggesting that the

positive attitudes are superficial (Hernandez et al., 2000).

While inclusion of minority populations into functional society is the goal

of policies and legislation, the attitudes of the general population still

perpetuate exclusion (Condeluci & Williams, 1997). Likewise, rehabilitation

professionals are prone to absorb, perpetuate, and impose onto clients the

paternalistic, prescriptive values brought on by exclusionist attitudes (Crisp,

2000). Achieving goals such as returning an individual to work in a modified

capacity is plausible because it relieves financial strain for insurance

companies and the government; however, it fosters the notion of admonishing

those who are unemployable (Kuehn, 1991). As people with disabilities

assume positions that contribute to society and not only taking from society, the

more likely the public will be able to change negative attitudes (Rubin &

Roessler, 1995). Rehabilitation professionals have the chance to foster





53

changes in both the attitude of the representative public as well as disabled

individuals aiming to assimilate with society after a disability is inflicted.


Traumatic Brain Injury

Statistics

Adults with traumatic brain injury are the chosen focus for this research.

In 1985, the projected cost of lifetime care for a person with incurred traumatic

brain injury was only $85,000 per person across all levels of severity. By 1999,

advances in medical technology have improved survival rates for individuals

with severe traumatic brain injury that drove up the cost of lifetime care by as

much as four times the original projection to approximately $300,000 per

instance of severe head trauma (Kraus & McArthur, 1999). In 1995 Miller et al.

collected data from the late 1980s from worker's compensation data banks

and found that medical costs for all severe head injuries approached $300,000

per instance as cited in Kraus and McArthur (1999). It was also found that

acute medical costs for the more severe injuries approached $2.4 million

based on the 1994 research of Miller et al., as reported by Kraus and McArthur

(1999). The total cost per new instance in head injury in the United States is

$6.5 billion with the cost of the subsequent year's medical cost projected at

$13.5 billion (Kraus & McArthur, 1999).

Because of the increased survival rates of individuals with traumatic

brain injury, the rehabilitation needs also had increased dramatically,

emphasizing the need for a better understanding of traumatic brain injury and

its effects. Traumatic brain injury is acquired damage to the brain as a result of





54

impact from acceleration injuries such as being hit by a moving object or

deceleration injuries such as striking a stationary object while in motion

(Noble, Cobley, Laski, & Noble, 1990; Krauss & McArthur, 1999). Genetic

abnormalities occurring prenatally and perinatally, degenerative diseases such

as Alzheimer's disease, infectious diseases, tumors, and strokes are excluded

from this definition (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). The definition of traumatic brain

injury is inconsistent in the literature. Some authors use the terms "head

injury" and "traumatic brain injury" synonymously, while others use the terms

separately. Used separately, the term traumatic brain injury refers to acute

damage to the central nervous system. Head injury refers to both damage to

the central nervous system as well as other injuries lacking any neurological

sequella, such as soft tissue injuries to the face, scalp, or skull fractures

(Kraus & McArthur, 1999; Woo & Thoidis, 2000). Other terms used

synonymously in the literature include closed head injury, nonpenetrating head

injury, and blunt head trauma, but are more descriptive than the all inclusive

term, head injury, previously described (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).

Statistics show that there are certain populations that are at higher risk

for sustaining such injuries. For instance, the highest incidences of closed

head trauma are reported to be between the ages 15 and 24. Mortality rates

are highest in this age group as well. Males outnumber females at a ratio of

3.4 to 1 (Woo & Thoidis, 2000). Woo and Thoidis (2000) cited that nonwhite

minorities are at higher risk for incurring head injury. Krauss and McArthur

(1999), however, stated that measures taken by hospitals to record race or





55

ethic incidence of head injury vary too greatly to validly claim that any one group

sustains injuries more than another. Studies show that there are higher

numbers of head injury among lower socio-economic populations (Krauss &

McArthur, 1999; Woo & Thoidis, 2000). Motor vehicular collisions account for

50% of the incidences of head injury with falls accounting for 21% of new cases

( Woo & Thoidis, 2000). Firearm injuries account for 12% of head trauma, and

males between the ages of 25 and 34 incur such injuries at 6 times the rate of

females the same age. Sports injuries account for 10% of new cases of head

injury, and the remaining percentage falls into the category of "other" as causes

for head injury new cases (Woo & Thoidis, 2000). Finally, records show that

56% of the incidences of new head injuries show a blood alcohol level that is

positive, a factor that compounds acute medical treatment phases as

respiratory complications tend to increase (Krauss & McArthur, 1999).

The amount of literature has grown tremendously since the 1980s

regarding traumatic brain injuries relevant to mortality and morbidity. One study

noted that in the Journal of Neurosurgery between 1944 and 1974 there was a

total of two articles that related mortality and morbidity to traumatic brain injury

(Hill, 1999; Langfitt, 1978).

Strauss and Savitsky in 1934 compiled physical symptoms of closed

head injury and called the malady "post concussion syndrome" (Fabiano &

Daugherty, 1998). One of the earliest documented accounts of brain injury was

of an individual named Phineas Gage who in 1868 received a frontal lobe brain

injury. Significant in this account is that the impact of his injury was that not only





56

were the physical repercussions recorded but also the psychosocial sequella.

His family and friends described his personality and behaviors as being so

different that he did not seem like the same person (Hill, 1999; Stuss, Gow &

Ross Hetherington, 1992).

Primary injuries

Gage's injury was localized in that a railroad spike became lodged in his

frontal lobe. His injury was also considered to be a penetrating injury in that a

foreign object penetrated his brain matter. Examples of other penetrating

injuries are bullet wounds, along with any other foreign object that penetrates

the skull and brain tissues. These are also examples of primary injuries, those

injuries that occur immediately upon impact. Primary injuries can be focal,

such as Gage's injury, or diffuse affecting brain tissue widespread, also known

as diffuse axonal injury (Burke & Ordia, 2000; Wehman & Kreutzer, 1990).

Axons are the connecting cells in the brain that are believed to be the

transmitters of neurochemicals that ultimately result in autonomic actions, non-

autonomic actions, and behavior (Graham, 1999). Other types of focal injuries

include skull fractures, intracranial hematomas, cortical contusions,

lacerations, and penetrating wounds.

Skull fractures are associated with increased risk for brain injury,

hematoma, or cranial nerve damage but can occur without neurological

consequence. A hematoma is intracranial hemorrhaging, bleeding in the

brain, that can cause further damage due to the pressure build-up within the

enclosed casing of the skull (Burke & Ordia, 2000). This is the leading cause





57

of complications, coma, and death; patients may seem fine initially but later

decline due to the increasing pressure within the brain due to hemorrhaging

(Graham, 1999). Cortical contusions, bruising of the brain, are most commonly

associated with traumatic brain injuries. These contusions are more

predictable because, upon impact, the brain is thrust upon the bony

protrusions of the inside wall of the skull. Upon doing so, the brain

experiences coup and contrecoup ricochet effect inside of the skull case. Coup

injuries to the brain occur as the brain is thrust forward in the direction of the

impact. Contrecoup injuries occur to the opposite side of the brain after the

coup impact has bounced in the opposite direction (Burke & Ordia, 2000).

Secondary injuries

Secondary injuries are injuries that occur as a result of the biochemical

and physiological changes occurring within hours or days after initial impact.

Neuro-chemical and cellular changes can take place as a result of failing

autonomic systems. Keeping patients properly oxygenated is critical; too much

oxygen to the brain could result in increased blood flow and increased

hemorrhaging; however, too little oxygen could suffocate brain cells (Graham,

1999). In addition, neuro-chemical agents are released that can lead to other

secondary complications such as swelling, cell toxicity, and lesions (Burke &

Ordia, 2000). Other secondary complications include intracranial pressure

(ICP), cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), and hydrocephalus, also know as

water build up in the brain, and co-morbid injuries occurring elsewhere in the

body (Burke & Ordia, 2000).





58

Other factors thought to impact medical and rehabilitation outcomes for

individuals incurring traumatic brain injury are duration and level of

unconsciousness or coma, duration of amnesia before and after injury,

hypoxia, and blood alcohol level (Moore & Stambrook, 1995; Prigatano, 1999).

The initial assessment includes assessment techniques to determine the

condition of the injury victim such as level of consciousness gauged by

Glasgow Coma Scale, pupil size and response, blood pressure, and heart

rate. Additionally, a mental status examination, reflex, muscle strength, and

sensation are performed to assess neurological abnormalities, but patient

response is required and may not be available if unconscious (Ordia, 2000).

Indicators for admission to the hospital for observation include altered level of

consciousness, prolonged loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting,

seizures, severe headaches, focal neurological signs, skull fracture, cerebral

contusion, hematoma, edema, or cerebrospinal fluid presence (Ordia, 2000).

Surgical management of intracranial hemorrhages, penetrating injuries,

and intracranial pressure may become necessary for the moderate to severe

injuries, though mild injuries are not excluded. Initial treatments include

osmotic diuretic treatment which is the administration of agents to dehydrate

the brain, blood pressure management, elevation of the head to foster proper

fluid drainage, controlled hyperventilation to keep oxygen in the brain regulated,

temperature control, sedation to foster proper vascularization, and anti-seizure

medication. If intracranial pressure is unmanageable, then inducing a





59

barbituate coma is considered until ICP has been at optimal levels for over 24

hours (Ordia, 2000).


Scales Used to Categorize Brain Injury Severity

The Glasgow Coma Scale (1974) is widely used to measure levels of

unconsciousness or coma that indicate the severity of brain injury. This scale

assesses patient response to verbal commands, motor movement

commands, and responses with eyes (Table 1).

Another measurement used to categorize, then predict neurological and

neurobehavioral outcomes after incurring traumatic brain injury is the Ranchos

Los Amigos Scale of Cognitive Functioning. The Rancho Los Amigos Scale of

Cognitive Functioning categorizes behavioral responses used in the Glasgow

Coma Scale on a total of eight levels (Table 2).

Another scale commonly used to anticipate severity of injury measures

the duration of amnesia following injury, known as post-traumatic amnesia.

Another type of amnesia is the loss of memory of events prior to an accident

known as retrograde amnesia (McKinlay & Watkiss, 1999). The following

criteria are use to categorize the severity of injury (Table 3).

The impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can range from mild deficits to

severe deficits causing symptomatic problems cognitively, behaviorally, or

physically. Some deficits may remain permanent while others may go through

a spontaneous recovery (Prigatano, 1999). The above-mentioned scales are

common tools used to categorize the severity of injury and positive correlations

have been documented between the levels of coma, duration of amnesia with





60

Table 1

Glasgow Coma Scale

Patient's Response Score

Eye opening

Eyes open spontaneously 4
Eyes open when spoken to 3
Eyes open to painful stimulation 2
Eyes do not open 1


Motor

Follows commands 6
Makes localizing movements to pain 5
Makes withdrawal movements to pain 4
Flexor (decorticate) posturing to pain 3
Extensor (decerebrate) posturing to pain 2
No motor response to pain 1


Verbal

Oriented to place and date 5
Converses but is disoriented 4
Utters inappropriate words, not conversing 3
Makes incomprehensible nonverbal sounds 2
Not vocalizing 1

Total:


Severe Traumatic Brain Injury less than 9

Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury 9 to 12

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury greater than 12
(Teasdale & Jennett, 1974)





61

Table 2

Ranchos Amigos Scale of Cognitive Functioning

Level I No response Patient in a deep sleep and
unresponsive

Level II Generalized response Patient reacts to stimuli non-
purposefully

Level III Localized response Patient reacts purposefully, but
inconsistently

Level IV Confused-Agitated Patient is hyperactive, cannot
process information

Level V Confused-Inappropriate Patient reacts to simple external
structure, not independently

Level VI Confused Appropriate Patient is goal directed, but
needs external direction

Level VII Automatic Appropriate Patient behaves appropriately,
but seems robot-like with
poor short term recall

Level VIII Purposeful Appropriate Patient alert, oriented, able to
integrate past and recent events
and is aware
(Nalkmus, Booth, & Kodimer, 1980)

Table 3

Measures of Duration of Amnesia

Less than 5 minutes very mild
5 to 60 minutes mild
1 to 24 hours moderate
1 to 7 days severe
1 to 4 weeks very severe
More than 4 weeks extremely severe
(McKinlay & Watkiss, 1999).





62

cognitive, and neurobehavioral outcomes (Krauss & McArthur, 1999; McKinlay &

Watkiss, 1999). However, as cited in Kraus and McArthur (1999), Povlishock in

1992 and Maxwell in 1993 conducted studies that showed weak or no

relationship between level of coma and duration of amnesia with outcomes.

Use of the Glasgow Coma Scale (1974) as useful as it has been is

controversial in terms of validity as a predictive instrument (Antonak, Livneh, &

Antonak, 1993; Krauss & McArthur, 1999). Other researchers question the use

of such instruments, arguing that they are relevant only to the acute physical

symptoms. Abstract constructs that make up personality cannot be anticipated

or predicted accurately at the time of injury (Crisp, 1994; Hill, 1996). Further,

recalling that 56% of neurological injuries involve victims with positive levels of

blood alcohol consumption, inebriation confounds accurate categorization of

the Glasgow Coma Scale (Krauss & McArthur, 1999; Pentland & Whittle, 1999).

In addition, complications with oxygenation causing a condition known as

hypoxia also distort accurate measurements of the severity of injury (Pentland &

Whittle, 1999). Therefore, categorization of mild, moderate, and severe seem

only relevant within the context of acute medical phases and cannot be

wholeheartedly relied upon as accurate predictors of at least neurobehavioral

and psychosocial complications.


Changes After Traumatic Brain Injury

From the period of time immediately after injury through the first year of

recovery, complications in foundational domains such as personality, cognitive,

physical, and psychosocial aspects of individual with traumatic brain injury can





63

be affected (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Antonak et al., 1993). Because this

particular disability has the propensity to impact each survivor in so many ways,

determining and predicting rehabilitation needs has proved to be challenging.

Assessment techniques used to determine deficits and residual capabilities

include neurological examinations, psychiatric examinations,

neuropsychological examinations, as well as assessments administered by a

variety of specialized therapists such as speech pathologist, occupational

therapists, physical therapists, and vocational rehabilitation counselors. After

appropriate assessments have been administered, the team of treatment

professionals together with the survivor and family members construct short-

term and long-term goals. Examples of common cognitive deficits include

short-term memory loss, long-term memory loss, attention deficits, slowed

executive function, and lowered intellectual functioning (McKinlay & Watkiss,

1999).

The treatment team works concordantly to improve deficits with cognitive

retraining techniques known as cognitive remediation that has consisted of

standard exercises designated by test scores, seldom tailored to the client

context (McKinlay & Watkiss, 1999). Physical, functional, recreational,

emotional, and vocational difficulties are also addressed through an array of

services provided by the rehabilitation team including orthopedic doctors,

neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech

pathologists, psychologists, counselors, and vocational counselors (Prigatano,

1999).





64

Brain Injury Rehabilitation Challenges and Limitations

Because of the unpredictable nature of traumatic brain injury and its

overlapping sequella, it has been difficult to measure the breadth of issues for

each individual through positivist inquiry (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). To do so

imposes serious limitations to growth and recovery potential. The most useful

manner of attempting to understand the victims' perceptions of acquiring brain

injury is adherence to understanding survivors' reality of events

phenomenologically (Prigatano, 1999). Factors recognized as significant in

determining psychosocial outcome for TBI survivors include pre- and post-

injury education, personality, social network, cultural, financial, TBI sequella,

resources, medical care, and treatment team. Antonak et al. (1993) noted that

emphasis needs to be placed upon psychosocial sequella subsequent to

brain injury as this has more significant impact upon social relationships and

therefore is a better predictor than the physical sequella. Hill (1999) noted that

literature documenting traumatic brain injury from a psychosocial perspective is

scarce, especially from the perspective of survivors. Longevity studies tend to

focus upon a span of 3 to 5 years post-injury, and Hill (1999) contended that

this is not long enough to make accurate predictions.

Significant deficits exist in the knowledge base of psychosocial

adaptation to traumatic brain injury because of problems with using

appropriate research methodologies. Selecting the most appropriate research

design is problematic because defining variables has been difficult. Variables

become defined from data collections of which the majority are retrospective





65

interviews and symptom checklists from family members, rehabilitation

providers, and sometimes consumers (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Antonak,

Livneh, & Antonak, 1993; Bergland & Thomas, 1991). Prigatano and

associates conducted a search from 1985 through 1995 of research that

looked for research titles that reflected brain dysfunction concurrently with the

constructs of frustration and confusion. Out of 7,600 articles found involving

traumatic brain injury, only 14 reflected these or similar emotions (Prigatano,

1999). One ethnographic study of 21 moderately injured survivors of closed

head injury notes the loss of identity and sense of self that were determined

through semi-structured interviews and observations and the coping

mechanisms the survivors used to redefine their new identities (Krefting,

1989). Another qualitative study examined and interpreted the themes that

emerged in terms of personality types that represent different levels of having

coped with and adjusted to the changes incurred after traumatic brain injury

(Crisp, 2000). Examining these changes qualitatively is, perhaps, the most

valid method for facilitating the process of discovering a new self (Hill, 1999;

Prigatano, 1999).

One of the most challenging aspects for helping professionals in

working with brain-injured populations is to determine whether or not their

client's judgment is clear. In working with populations with disabilities and

brain-injured populations, sometimes clients set unrealistic goals for

themselves after a disability is incurred. Clients either experience a lack of

understanding of the extent of acquired disabilities or they are experiencing





66

denial. The rehabilitation professional is faced with the task of ascertaining the

client's decision-making capabilities. This has serious implications as the

professional also has to ascertain the client's potential to improve decision-

making skills if the patient does seem to exhibit unrealistic expectations.

Should the professional determine that the client cannot set realistic goals

because of the cognitive damage, then goals must be set for that person

(Prigatano, 1999). However, should clients demonstrate potential to do so,

then rehabilitation professionals must empower and allow clients to pursue

desired goals (O'Hara & Harrell, 1990).

The problem is that this is not always easily determined. Should

rehabilitation professionals determine goals for individuals that possessed the

capacity to do so, then such counselors have not served their clients. Instead,

the basic rights of the client have been ignored and devalued. This has

serious ethical implications. Therefore, it is imperative that the client's

subjective reality be understood, respected, and upheld. To do this,

assessments and testing are available to ascertain levels of cognitive and

emotional functioning and potential. It is also vital to see through the client's

eyes and endeavor to understand phenomenologically from the insider's

perspective (Prigano, 1999; Wright, 1983).


Models of Brain Injury Rehabilitation

In examining the philosophies of current traumatic brain injury

rehabilitation theory, two trends that appear to be dominant throughout the





67


literature are one that is "community-based" and one that is "systems-based"

(Dahmer et al., 1993; Ragnarsson, Thomas, & Zasler, 1993).

The systems-based treatment modality is predominantly inpatient and

medically based as it is designed to treat acute stages of moderate to severe

injuries. This model usually takes place at a facility where a combination of

services is implemented including medical care, psychiatric services,

counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology,

vocational counseling, and recreational therapy. Once the patient achieves

criteria set by the rehabilitation team for a reasonable level of functional

independence, the patient begins a transition to the home environment with the

family. From here patients participate in day treatment until discharge is

determined appropriate by the team. Financial resources as well as the patient

support system usually impact determination of patient discharge to the home.

With some facilities, case managers follow the case and "check in" on the

client and aid in facilitating transition. Ultimately, it is up to the client to transfer

the skills acquired at the facility to home (Brain Injury Association, 2000).

Community-based programs implement treatment in settings other than

medical facilities. Once patients are deemed medically stable, they can

participate in specialized therapies within their homes working in occupational

therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology, counseling, and vocational

counseling. Such services are designed to facilitate the survivors in

transitioning from dependence to independence within their communities.

Another example of a community-based program is that of a supported





68


community program that provides a place of residence to assist with

transitioning toward community re-entry (Brain Injury Association, 2000).

While there are numerous traumatic brain injury rehabilitation treatment

programs, this literature review focused upon models in the literature that

foster survivor efficacy and empowerment with an attempted understanding of

the perspective of the survivor. Three such models were examined including

Livneh and Antonak's (1997) Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability phase

model, O'Hara and Harrell's (1990) Empowerment Model, and Prigatano's

(1999) "Principles for treating individuals with traumatic brain injury" cognitive-

based model.


Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability

Livneh and Antonak (1997) developed a conceptual model of adaptation

to disability (Appendix F). Adjustment is viewed as a subset of and last stage of

adaptation, whereas adaptation is the continuous evolvement through which an

individual with acquired illness or disability achieves maximal independence

within the environment. Adjustment is differentiated from adaptation in that it is

the final phase in the adaptation process enveloping acceptance of disability

and assimilation of pre-injury psychological components and post-injury

psychological components.

There are four classes of adjustment and adaptation according to Livneh

and Antonak (1997). In Class I variables deal with the disability characteristics

such as age, extent of injury, type of injury, degree of neurological impairment,

and lethality. Class II variables contain socio-demographic information





69

including gender, ethnicity, developmental stage, education, marital status, and

job title. Personality attributes make up Class III variables and include values,

self-image, premorbid psychosocial adaptation, attitudes, locus of control, and

defense mechanisms. Class IV variables include socio-environmental factors

such as home environment, social groups, friends, and attitudinal barriers

imposed upon the client (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).

These four classes of variables impact each stage of progression while

adjusting and adapting to disability. These stages of progression include an

early stage that involves shock, anxiety, and denial of the trauma. Intermediate

states focus upon steps toward acceptance of the incurred trauma and include

anger and depression. The later stages move the survivor acceptance and

adjustment. A circular sequence accounts for different reactions and decisions

regarding the trauma at any given point during the process eliminating the

model from being a linear stage model entirely (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).


Empowerment Model

The Empowerment Rehabilitation Model (Appendix G) (O'Hara & Harrell,

1991) is unique in that a brain-injured individual may enter treatment at any

point after becoming injured. Psychotherapeutic intervention is emphasized in

order to enhance emotional adjustment, mastery of cognitive skills, and social

skills. The Empowerment Model's guiding principle maintains that all of the

foundational domains--cognitive, emotional, physical, and interpersonal--must

reintegrate at a rate chosen by the client in order to move victims to survivors

(O'Hara & Harrell, 1991).





70

This model embraces goals for the rehabilitation team and survivors of

traumatic brain injury in order to achieve empowerment, instilling belief in

another individual's ability to succeed. These goals include enhancing

motivation, enabling clients with information about their injury, providing

structure until the clients are able to do so on their own, teaching skills and

strategies to compensate for losses, and facilitating acceptance of differences

before injury and after injury (O'Hara & Harrell, 1991). The underlying premise

of this model is that facilitation of the above-mentioned goals leads to an

enhanced internal structure and motivation equated with empowerment for

individuals with incurred traumatic brain injury. The model is presented

nonhierarchically as EXTERNAL STRUCTURE + MOTIVATION + INFORMATION

+ ACCEPTANCE + SKILLS = EMPOWERMENT (O'Hara & Harrell, 1991). No

component can be eliminated or dismissed, or the goal of empowerment is

unlikely to be achieved.


Holistic Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Program

George Prigatano, a practitioner and researcher in brain injury

rehabilitation, stated that in order to facilitate clients from post-acute stages of

traumatic brain injury through adjustment and reintegration with oneself and

society, awareness and judgment need to be restored or compensated

(Prigatano, 1995, 1999). He emphasized that cognitive remediation and

restructuring, along with psychotherapy be implemented in order to enhance

adjustment to traumatic brain injury. He proposed several components for a

"Holistic Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Program" as development of a





71


therapeutic atmosphere and bond between treating therapist teams and client.

These included cognitive retraining, small-group cognitive retraining hour,

cognitive group therapy, individualized cognitive retraining, psychotherapy,

family involvement and education, and the protected work trial.

In pursuit of developing a therapeutic atmosphere and understanding

the perspectives of clients, Prigatano (1999) maintained that clients could

optimize therapeutic goals if confusion and frustration were reduced and trust

was established between the rehabilitation staff and client. Group therapy and

individual treatment modalities were endorsed as mechanisms to restore and

restructure cognitive functioning or to introduce strategies to compensate for

deficits (Prigatano, 1999). He introduced small-group cognitive therapy hour as

another means of implementing this concept, yet in a short, concise time frame

that holds the clients' interest (Prigatano, 1999). Family education was meant

to inform and support the immediate support systems of the clients so that

loved ones had a better understanding of how they and their loved one were

impacted. Last, supported return-to-work programs were introduced to

enhance the transition in returning to and maintaining work (Prigatano, 1999).


Summary

Adjusting to and living with traumatic brain injury is a complex journey for

the survivor as well as for those who are treating and supporting the individual.

The survivors of traumatic brain injury experience intrinsic and extrinsic

variables during the process from cognitive and emotional to sequella to social

stigma and isolation. Shifts in disability legislation have led to subsequent





72

shifts in disability philosophies; the environment, the outsiders, rather than the

individual with disability imposes handicaps and disabilities. Rehabilitation

philosophies have experienced similar shifts in theory, but inquiry is needed in

order to determine whether the shifts are occurring yet in practice. Quantitative

methods of ascertaining rehabilitation treatment methods have provided

limited information that is skewed by the parameters of the questionnaires and

assessments that gauge satisfaction and adjustment. Qualitative methods of

ascertaining this information provide valuable data but are scant; therefore, this

study endeavors to provide additional data for the research base in a qualitative

fashion. The following chapter discusses the qualitative methods chosen for

answering the research problem presented in this study. In this endeavor of

learning how survivors of traumatic brain injury view their adjustment and

rehabilitation interventions, two purposes are accomplished. One is that the

perceptions of survivors of traumatic brain injury is learned phenomenologically

and that accounts of the survivors may be properly constructed from the inside

view to the outside view. Second, the derived constructs from these survivors

may be compared and contrasted with existing theories of adjustment to

disability and traumatic brain injury.












CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

The review of relevant literature lends a better understanding into what is

already known about adjustment issues in disability and brain injury

rehabilitation. The earlier writings of Beatrice Wright (1983), Carolyn Vash

(1981), and Franklin Shontz (1975) present psychosocial issues that result

from incurring a disability that lead to the more recent paradigms of

understanding the psychosocial issues of disability from social, multicultural,

and needs-based perspectives discussed by Oliver (1996), Wendell (1996),

and Brown et al. (2000). From these writings, the progression of

understanding these issues has gone from viewing disability as being an

intrinsic phenomenon within the individual that must be minimized and

reframed to viewing obstacles presented by disabilities as being strictly

environmental (Crisp, 2000). As such, one of the questions raised by this

research is how has rehabilitation fostered or impeded individuals with

traumatic brain injury in aspiring to their rehabilitation and life goals. The

literature recognized that survivors of traumatic brain injury endure neurological

sequella causing permanent changes in foundational domains such as

emotion, personality, cognition, and other physio-neurological changes.

Questions were also raised in the literature regarding the appropriateness of




73





74

imposing rehabilitation agendas upon individuals with traumatic brain injury

that expected individuals to return to a previous state of functioning.

The literature also observed and challenged the validity of using the

Glasgow Coma Scale by Teasdale and Jennett (1974) as a predictor of

outcome for rehabilitation potential because it fails to accurately address

anything but the acute physical and neurological effects of a traumatic brain

injury. It does not take into account pre-accident and post-accident emotional,

cognitive, and personality variables such as values, determination, motivation,

and preferences that play significant roles in achieving goals and efficacy.

Questions remain unanswered about outcome.

The literature contains scarce information that constructs the accounts

and perceptions of survivors of traumatic brain injury relevant to their

adjustment and rehabilitation journeys. This chapter introduces the qualitative

methods that purport to answer the questions posed in this study that positivist,

quantitative methods cannot. The reader will encounter discussions of

purpose, problems that lead to conducting this study, the research design, the

participants, the sampling process, data collection and data analysis.

Positivism, the epistemological basis for quantitative inquiry, maintains

that the external world is an objective reality that never changes and that

phenomena can be examined entirely separate from other phenomena. The

many interactions among people, the environment, and cognition are

discounted. Empirical information collected from a representative sample can

be quantified and statistically measured to provide information that is then





75

applied to the larger majority. The problem with this epistemology is that

phenomenon observed in static environments may not be relevant to the

individual contexts of human behavior and experience (Bogden & Biklen,1992;

Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996; Stake, 1995). Further, quantitative methodologies are

more concerned with the relationships among phenomenon and less

concerned with its specific details. Positivism or quantitative inquiry is like

casting a net and then studying the relationships and differences among the

specimen caught. Post-positivist inquiry, the theoretical basis for qualitative

inquiry, takes into account the nuances, relationships, and particulars of an

individual's natural environment. Qualitative case study endeavors to examine

intensively a defined, bounded instance of an individual experience (Stake,

1995). Analogously, case study is the examination of just one of the specimen

caught among the haul rather than examination of relationships among the

entire haul (Runkel, 1990). The research questions posed below are

answered best by using a methodology such as case study research that

examines details in depth and within context.


Research Questions

1. What perceptions do individuals with traumatic brain injury have of their
injury and rehabilitation?

2. How do the survivors of traumatic brain injury view their adjustment?

3. How does the survivor of traumatic brain injury evaluate rehabilitation
progress and adjustment?

4. How do the perceptions of the survivors of traumatic brain injury
compare with theories of disability and traumatic brain injury
adjustment?





76


This study targeted the perspectives of people with traumatic brain injury.

The aim was to gain an understanding of the experiences of survivors during

the rehabilitation and adjustment processes. Another goal was to compare the

experiences of survivors of traumatic brain injury with existing disability and

traumatic brain injury theory. In order to meet the goals of this study, it was

necessary to include the context and its details rather than objectifying the

goals with a null hypothesis (Campbell, 1995; Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996).

The individual milieus, consequential interactions, and the perceptions

of the participants provide germane and rich information for the researcher.

The process of collecting data from a qualitative viewpoint draws from a post-

positivist philosophy called phenomenology (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996).

Phenomenology is the study of understanding the participant's experiences

within context; accordingly, the researcher must interact with participants' in the

environment of the latter in order to collect data (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996; Stake,

1995). The post-positivist movement arose as social and behavioral

researchers realized that nullifying the context also nullifies contextual validity

and reliability.

In the 19th century Comte introduced the study of humans through

objective, scientific methods, fostering positivist thought in the study of human

behavior (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). As the positivist trend developed, a few of

the students opposed its dehumanizing effects including Dilthey, Kant, and

Buber (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). Under Dilthey's tutelage, Buber offered that

the research of people and human behavior must not be reduced to studying "I-





77

it" relationships (Campbell, 1995). Rather, the focus must be upon the "l-thou"

relationships and interactions (Campbell, 1995). Buber was saying that it is

inappropriate to objectify people and relationships as it negates the context

(Campbell, 1995; Gall & Borg, 1996). In presenting information about

qualitative inquiry, a rationale exists for the research methodology most

appropriate for this study.


Purpose

This study examined two goals; one was to gain an understanding of

what it is like to incur and adjust to a traumatic brain injury. Extensive literature

describes the behaviors of clients with traumatic brain injury provided by

medical and rehabilitation staff and the family support systems. Treatment

plans and prognoses are developed based on these observations and

opinions that influence the potential rehabilitation outcomes for clients (Crisp,

1993; Prigatano, 1999). Though medical and rehabilitation teams espouse

client inclusion in rehabilitation planning, clients in this particular population

are often assumed to be lacking awareness and sustaining levels of denial.

While many victims of traumatic brain injury do suffer from awareness deficts,

not all of them do (Crisp, 1994; Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Prigatano, 1999). This

study was concerned with examining the experiences of traumatic brain injury

from the survivor's perspective because the juxtaposition of the referenced

psychosocial dynamics, awareness and denial, is often in opposition to

treatment modalities. Perhaps it is appropriate to view awareness and denial





78

not merely as functions of or in opposition of an overall adjustment process but

as facilitators of the process (Liveneh & Antonak, 1997).

A second purpose of this study was to compare the experiences of the

participants with existing models in brain injury and disability adjustment. In

doing so, any differences that arise between the constructs derived by the

participants and the constructs of the existing theories may address the

appropriateness of such treatment modalities. The three models that were

chosen to compare with the results of the case studies conceptualized

components of empowerment and understanding client contexts. The first

model applies to any disability population, while the last two are specific to

traumatic brain injury.

Livneh and Antonak (1997) developed a conceptual model of adaptation

to disability. They viewed adjustment to be a subset of adaptation, whereas

adaptation is the continuous evolvement and dynamic overall process through

which an individual with acquired illness or disability reaches an optimal state

of congruence with the environment. Adjustment delineates from adaptation,

according to Livneh and Antonak, in that it is the final phase in the adaptation

process encompassing acceptance and reintegration of pre-injury

psychological components and post-injury psychological components (Livneh

& Antonak, 1997). For the purpose of examining the rehabilitation processes

that embrace these components, this model is included (Appendix F). This

model depicts four classes of variables that overlap and progress circularly so





79

as to incorporate pre-injury and post-injury variables acclimating together to

achieve adjustment.

A second theory, the Empowerment Rehabilitation Model (O'Hara &

Harrell, 1991), maintains that all of the foundational domains--cognitive,

emotional, physical, and interpersonal--must reintegrate at the pace desired by

the client. In doing so, the rehabilitation professional facilitates movement from

victim to survivor and fosters empowerment (O'Hara & Harrell, 1991) (Appendix

G).

The model is presented nonhierarchically as EXTERNAL STRUCTURE

+ MOTIVATION + INFORMATION + ACCEPTANCE + SKILLS = EMPOWERMENT

(O'Hara & Harrell, 1991) (Appendix G). The theory maintains that, should a

component be eliminated or dismissed, the goal of empowerment is less likely

to be achieved.

George Prigatano (1995, 1999) offered components for a "Holistic

Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Program" as development of a therapeutic

atmosphere and bond between treating therapist teams and client, cognitive

retraining, small-group cognitive retraining hour, cognitive group therapy,

individualized cognitive retraining, psychotherapy, family involvement and

education, and the protected work trial. He maintained that awareness and

judgment need to be restored with cognitive remediation and treatment

(Prigatano (1999).





80

Problem

Extensive literature in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation examined the

perceptions of rehabilitation professionals and family members of survivors of

traumatic brain injury (Crisp, 1993). Beatrice Wright (1983) called these above-

named support individuals "outsiders" because they were not the actual victims

of injury or illness, but rather the observers and helpers of individuals who

survive such tragedies (Wright, 1983). The survivors of injury or illness are the

"insiders" because they possess the expertise of what it is like to incur these

disabilities (Wright, 1983). Numerous quantitative studies addressed the

effectiveness of rehabilitation strategies for this population, relying upon

methodologies that answer null hypotheses with deductive statistical

measures, generalizing the results to a larger sample of the population (Crisp,

1994; Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). The bulk of such studies report variables given

from the perspectives of "outsiders," rather than from the experts or "insiders"

(Hill, 1999).

Several problems exist when applying quantitative statistical measures

to determine effectiveness of rehabilitation treatment modalities. The effects of

having incurred a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are not the same for each

individual with TBI. Traumatic brain injury is defined as nonpenetrating trauma

inflicted to the cranium by being hit, shaken, or acceleration and deceleration

impact (Noble et al., 1990). Because the brain is surrounded by fluid encased

in the skull, blunt trauma causes a ricochet effect against the inside of the skull

known as coup-contra coup (Krauss & McArthur, 1999; Prigatano, 1999).





81

Trauma results in the brain being injured, not only at the point of impact, but

also where the brain is thrust against the inside wall of the cranium (Prigatano,

1999). Further, head position, age of onset, body position, and the force of

impact are all variables determining how the brain ricochets inside the cranium

(Krefting, 1990; Prigatano, 1999). Therefore, individuals with TBI may share the

same diagnosis but may have very different symptoms with different cognitive

domains affected (Prigatano, 1999). Generalizing results of a quantitative study

to members of the traumatic brain-injured population imposes suppositions

that may not apply to all members.

A second problem with the "blanket diagnosis" of traumatic brain injury

(TBI) is that incongruent perceptions of the symptoms may exist between

survivors and their caregivers. Caregivers are able to depict what it is like to

live with TBI survivors, and rehabilitation professionals can describe what it is

like to treat a person with TBI. Only those with TBI are able to portray accurately

what it is like to incur and adjust to life with TBI and its symptoms. Gaps

between perceptions may lead to erroneous assumptions. For instance,

because foundational domains such as cognition and personality can be

affected, rehabilitation professionals run the risk of evaluating a client with TBI

to be lacking judgment (Crisp, 1994; Prigatano, 1999). Consequently, this

assumption makes the goals of the client prone to dismissal by the

rehabilitation treatment team, resulting in an ethical conflict (Crisp, 1994;

Krefting, 1990; Prigatano, 1999).





82

Another problem is that adjustment is contextual, while quantitative

research is noncontextual for populations with traumatic brain injury (TBI)

(Crisp, 1993; Prigatano, 1999). The adjustment that takes place in an inpatient

rehabilitation setting may be very different from that of the client's environment.

Testing that predicts adjustment outcomes takes place in a sterile, clinical

environment and may hold little validity, once the clients return to their own

surroundings. Similarly, the levels of adjustment for individuals with TBI in the

home environment and the work environment may have great differences.

Understanding adjustment deductively leaves many unanswered contextual

questions, while inductive methods such as case study research best answers

inquiries about perceptions (Stake, 1995).


Research Design

Of the qualitative methodologies, case study research permits the

researcher to collect data in a defined instance within the client's natural

setting. Case study research is the thorough examination of the particular(s) of

a bounded instance (Stake, 1995). Its goal is to learn about the phenomena

occurring within the instance defined and to assemble the phenomena into an

accurate understanding (Bogden & Biklen, 1992; Crisp, 1993; Stake; 1995).

The recollections and perceptions of individuals with traumatic brain injury are

the phenomena observed in this study and the defined time frame, or instance,

is the time of accident through the present. The participants were given the

opportunity to construct their memories and impressions of incurring their

injuries and adjusting to them by responding to a semi-structured interview.





83

Transcripts were prepared from audio-recorded interviews with the participants

to be analyzed. After the data transcripts were analyzed, case studies were

prepared for each of the participants. Last, the properties of each of the case

studies were compared with models of disability and traumatic brain injury

adjustment.


Participants

This study intensely examined the details of survivors with traumatic

brain injury. The five participants interviewed were enough, but not too many, to

understand the experiences this population had of adjusting to traumatic brain

injury. As Runkel (1990) stated, in order to understand the experiences within

the context of individuals, it is more relevant to study one specimen at a time,

rather than the entire haul caught. The participants were five adult survivors

with a divided gender distribution of three males and two females of mild to

moderate/severe traumatic brain injury. The rationale of the gender distribution

is because 75% to 80% of adult traumatic brain injury survivors are males

between the ages of 18 and 45 due to vehicular accidents and sports injuries

(Krauss & McArthur, 1999). The chances of finding adult males with traumatic

brain injury are higher, as females accounted for 20% to 25% of the adult

survivors of TBI. As this study focused upon adults with traumatic brain injury,

the participants were between 20 and 50 years of age who had participated in a

rehabilitation program. The number of years post-injury could vary, as it was

more relevant to include participants who had participated in a rehabilitation





84


program, but for the sake of defining the research parameters, participants

must have been at least one year post-injury.

Research participants were invited to volunteer for this research with the

"Invitation to Participate" (Appendix E). The theoretical sampling process used

in qualitative statistics as opposed to traditional random sampling used in

quantitative research was used to select respondents. Qualitative inquiry and

theoretical sampling focuses more on the individual case of concern and

conclusions are derived using inductive reasoning (Bogden & Biklen, 1992;

Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). The volunteers were solicited by two methods. First,

the researcher presented the study at various support groups in the

southeastern United States. Second, mailings were sent to two southeastern

universities inviting individuals with traumatic brain injury to participate.

Participants were screened further by asking them if they had accepted that

they were different. The final five participants responded that they were aware

that they had changed since their accidents and that they accepted these

changes.

The focus was upon the specifics of each case examined because of

the small sample size in qualitative case study research. After choosing the

participants from the pool of respondents to the "Invitation to Participate"

(Appendix E), meeting times for the interviews were arranged. During the

meeting times, participants read and signed the "Informed Consent" form

(Appendix D), then copies were made and sent to the participants later.





85

The amount of time spent with participants fluctuated between 3 to 4

hours. An interview was scheduled with each participant that lasted for

approximately 70 to 90 minutes each. Participants reviewed and provided

feedback for their respective case studies to ensure validity and reliability on

"Feedback Form 1" (Appendix B) at a second meeting during which participants

read their case studies. Had a second interview become necessary, the

participants would have scheduled a third meeting and would have been

interviewed a second time, indicating the feedback on "Feedback Form 2"

(Appendix C). All five participants indicated that they were satisfied with their

case studies.


Data Collection and Analysis

Participants received a copy of the questions intended for data collection during

semi-structured interviews (see Appendix A). The interview was semi-

structured in the sense that the interviewee had the flexibility to expand or

deviate from the questions to a reasonable extent. The questions initially were

open-ended. For example, what was your life like before your accident? What

was your rehabilitation experience like? How are your rehabilitation goals the

same or different as your rehabilitation team's goals? Describe your overall

experience of adjusting to traumatic brain injury. (See Appendix A.)

Subsequent questions and topics revealed additional information

leading to a more thorough understanding of relationships, coping

mechanisms, helps and hindrances in adjusting to their injuries that existed for

the participants. Such questions remained open-ended but were more





86


specific, such as "Tell me more about the experiences that your doctor helped

you with," or "what other obstacles existed for you during your rehabilitation and

recovery?"

The information was audio-taped and then transcribed into a computer

soon after each interview. Each 70- to 90-minute interview took 4 to 5 hours to

transcribe. Case studies were developed from the transcripts focusing on the

participants' perceptions and experiences of adjustment and rehabilitation to

traumatic brain injury. Each case study took approximately 3 hours to construct.

"Reliability and validity are determined by the participant in case study

research" according to Stake (1995). Therefore, each case study was

presented to each participant for review and given "Feedback Form 1"

(Appendix B). Spending approximately 2 additional hours with each participant

for the case study review, each participant indicated that they were satisfied

with the accuracy of their case studies, making second interviews that

warranted use of "Feedback Form 2" (Appendix C) unnecessary.

The data were analyzed using the constant comparative method that

consistently and cyclically compared the coded raw date until it had been

saturated (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Saturation is reached when comparisons

and cross comparisons of the coded date and themes yield the same themes,

categories, and constructs (Strauss & Corbin, 1990; Glaser & Strauss, 1967).

Specifically, each of the transcriptions was scrutinized by line and by

word by this researcher looking for specific words and topics used by the

participants. Then, the codes in each set of transcriptions were recorded into





87


columns, scrutinized, and compared and recompared to determine common

themes. The themes were recorded and were then organized into the derived

categories. Further comparisons took place across the themes and compared

with the derived categories in order to determine constructs; five were

determined. Steps were taken to protect the identity of the participants. A same

gender "pen-name" was chosen or given in place of the first name of the

participant. The tapes and list with names matching the designated pen-

names were stored in a locked filing cabinet in a locked office.


Summary

Case study inquiry was used in this study to ascertain the descriptions

and interpretations of the participants. Five participants, two females and three

males between the ages of 20 and 50 with traumatic brain injury (TBI), were

selected for data collection. The purpose was to examine the perceptions of

these individuals after incurring traumatic brain injury and participating in a

rehabilitation program. This study was interested in accurately portraying the

particulars of what is like to adjust to TBI. The impressions of the participants

of their rehabilitation were of key interest. This purpose represented the

premise of intrinsic case study, one that studies a case for the sake of knowing

about that particular case (Stake, 1995). The case studies became

instrumental, however, with its second purpose (Stake, 1995). The second

purpose was to compare the perceptions and conceptions of the participants

with the constructs of TBI rehabilitation theory. Instrumental case studies were





88


conducted in order to understand something other than the particulars of the

individual case itself (Stake, 1995).

The results of these endeavors are contained in Chapter 4. A

discussion of observed comparisons between the constructs derived from the

participants and the constructs of TBI rehabilitation theory occurs in Chapter 5.













CHAPTER 4
CASE STUDIES AND CONSTRUCTS


There are few studies that examine the perspectives of adjustment and

rehabilitation from the viewpoint of actual survivors of traumatic brain injury.

This chapter presents the results of five semi-structured interviews conducted

with individuals who have acquired traumatic brain injuries and participated in

rehabilitation modalities. These interviews were designed to ascertain the

perceptions and experiences that these individuals have of their adjustment

and rehabilitation processes after becoming injured. The qualitative case

study method of collecting data discussed in Chapter 3 was chosen in order to

answer questions that positivist inquiry could not. In order to gain an

understanding of the viewpoints of survivors, a phenomenological

understanding of their contexts must occur (Prigatano, 1999; Stake, 1995).

This is the only way to gain an understanding of what it is like to incur and

adjust to a traumatic brain injury, given the parameters that rehabilitation and

the environment provide. In doing so, an understanding of how rehabilitation

helped or impeded survivors in reaching their goals may be better understood.

The results of the interviews achieve the two purposes. One purpose

was to construct case studies of the individuals' experiences and perceptions

of adjusting to traumatic brain injury to determine any common themes and

constructs. Second, constructs derived from the data collected were to be

89





90


compared and contrasted with three models of adjustment to disability and

brain injury. The first portion of this chapter presents the results of the

constructed case studies. The second portion presents the results of the data

analyses that derived five constructs using the constant comparative method, a

systematic method for analyzing qualitative data developed by Glaser and

Strauss (1967). A discussion of the second purpose, to compare and contrast

the derived constructs with three models of rehabilitation to disability, takes

place in Chapter 5. The case studies presented below were constructed from

the transcripts and represent the perceptions of adjustment to traumatic brain

injury by five participants, two females and three males.


Case Study 1: Teresa Lynn

Teresa Lynn, accompanied by her mother, arrived for our interview

dressed casually in jeans and a shirt on a late Friday morning after attending

classes at a local community college. She was in good spirits and eager to

participate in the interview. She was a little embarrassed about being late and

explained that her mother had a schedule conflict. Socially, she presented

herself confidently and comfortably, though she admitted that she is

sometimes shy.

Teresa Lynn is a childless, unmarried, 22-year-old Caucasian woman,

with shoulder length, wavy, brownish hair. She currently resides with her

parents in a very rural area of north-central Florida, where she has spent all but

3 years of her life. Neither of her parents works currently, as her father has a

disability and her mother is not working so that she can help Teresa Lynn.





91


Teresa Lynn has one younger brother, 16 years old, almost 17, who resides

with her and her parents. She has two older half siblings, a half-brother 7

years older and half-sister 9 years older, that she has reunited with since her

accident in 1998. Teresa Lynn states, "It was really great to have them be a

part of my life again, so it is another good thing that has come from my

accident."

Teresa Lynn is very close with her family, whom she considers to be her

closest friends. She is very active in her church, where she has a strong

spiritual life and participates regularly in various volunteer activities. In her

spare time, she enjoys attending to her pets and other animals on their

property.

Teresa Lynn is pursuing her Associate of Science degree in Physical

Therapy Assistant at a local community college. She states that she is in her

first term and is doing well in this program and is hoping to work one day

helping other people who have endured disability and injury. She participated

in preparatory courses before being admitted because she had to repeat her

last year of high school in order to regain what she lost as a result of the

accident. She states untiringly, "I really did not mind taking the preparatory

classes, even though it was basically a repeat of my senior year in high

school." She goes on, "I knew I would need to take these courses again in

order to understand the basics of my program, so it was okay."

Teresa Lynn wears glasses and ambulates independently with no

assistive devices. She practices driving on safe roads, but usually lets her





92

mother help transport her. She is currently driving herself to and from school

with mild intimidation in heavy traffic. She talks to herself to help keep calm in

tense situations, "Sometimes I pray and sometimes I sing to keep calm while

driving."

Teresa Lynn is a warm and congenial person who prefers to interact

socially in small groups with a few people at a time. She explains that the

majority of her school years were spent in north-central Florida, but her

seventh-grade year was in Nevada and her eighth- and ninth-grade years were

in Colorado. Teresa Lynn enjoyed fun times in Colorado, recalling times when

she and her brother would ride with her father in their pickup truck to the

mountains. Her father would shovel snow into the back of the pickup truck and

take it back to their house in the valley. There, he unloaded the snow where

she and the other kids in her neighborhood would play until it melted. Teresa

Lynn made good grades in school but states that she had to work at it. She

explains that she strived to get good grades and put fun second. She was

once an avid and talented photographer, having won various awards. She also

had a passion for clog dancing, enjoying traveling and doing shows with her

partners. For fun, she and her family ride four-wheelers, fish, and camp

whenever they can find the time. She states that she did not really date much in

high school and did not have a large network of friends, preferring to socialize

with her family and church.

Teresa Lynn's plans when she was in high school were to go into the

military and pursue a career as a registered nurse. She graduated in 1997





93

from high school and delayed her plans to enter the military because she and

her family experienced several major losses that year. Both of her

grandmothers died that year, and then her mother incurred cancer. She

decided to postpone her plans and stay home to help her family and mother.

She worked two jobs, one as a retail customer service associate and the other

as t-shirt printer. When her mother improved later in 1998, she decided to go

ahead and commit to the military in January of 1999 and pursue her plans of

becoming a registered nurse while in the military.

On November 11, 1998, Teresa Lynn's small blue pickup truck was rear-

ended and pushed into oncoming traffic, crashing head on into a larger full-size

brown pickup truck, demolishing both vehicles. She sustained a broken neck,

jaw, breast bone, several ribs, left knee, left hip, left shin bone, pelvic bone, and

left ankle. She also had a bruised heart, lungs, fractured right hip, and a

traumatic brain injury. Her right eye muscle was strained because of the

impact of the accident, causing it to stray. She was transported from the scene

of the accident by helicopter to the hospital where she was in a coma for

approximately 3 weeks.

She indicates remembering having talks and being with her deceased

grandmothers, the driver of the other vehicle, and angels while she was in a

coma. She learned much later in court that the driver died the day of the

accident. "I didn't know until later that he had died that day; I guess my family

was trying to protect me," she explained. Teresa Lynn was fined $500 for her

vehicle crossing the double line causing a fatality, and her license was




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4
Chan, Shaw, McMahon, Koch, and Strauser (1997) showed that practitioners
discount the consumers opinions for several reasons. The survivor of incurred
disability is viewed by the helping professional as naive about prognosis,
incapable of understanding the diagnosis, or is unable to use clear judgment
in goal planning post-injury (Chan et al., 1997). If this is true, then practitioners
merely espouse the principles of maximum consumer involvement but do not
practice it, thereby reaching an ethical dilemma.
Recent philosophies regarding people with disabilities and society
endorse the premise that the environment and nondisabled people impose the
handicaps encountered in interactions between person and environment
(Gilson & Depoy, 2000). People with disabilities are viewed as capable of
achieving goals and activities daily and as intrinsically capable though they may
achieve their goals in nontraditional or unorthodox manners (Gilson & Depoy,
2000; Oliver, 1996). Ironically, many rehabilitation programs, as stated
previously, espouse this philosophy while in reality perpetuating oppressive
measures (Olkin, 1999).
At high risk for viewing clients as incapable of fully grasping the scope of
their disabilities are rehabilitation programs for traumatic brain injury treatment.
Traumatic brain injury is acquired damage to the brain due to blunt insult to the
head caused by acceleration or deceleration impact (Krauss & McArthur, 1999).
The effects of the damage range from mild to severe for survivors causing
complications and deficits across the span of foundational domains such as
cognition, personality, behaviors, and physical capabilities (Krauss & McArthur,


160
The Psychosocial Model of Adaptation to Disability developed by Livneh
and Antonak (1997) explains how coping mechanisms, emotions,
environmental influences, and intrinsic qualities occur concordantly. As such,
this model best answers questions of Why. This model addresses why
individuals achieve various rehabilitation outcomes but does not answer
questions of How. How can rehabilitation outcomes be optimized for and by
the individual with incurred brain injury.
Empowerment Model
The Empowerment Model by OHara and Harrell (1990) suggests that a
vital component of rehabilitating individuals with traumatic brain injury is to
instill and reinforce survivor efficacy, the belief in survivors capacities to
succeed. The rehabilitation team and clients then must embrace goals that
encompass empowerment and planting efficacy beliefs in the survivor. These
goals include enhancing motivation, providing clients with information about
their injury, creating structure until the clients are able to do so on their own,
teaching skills and strategies to compensate for losses, and facilitating
acceptance of differences before injury and after injury (OHara & Harrell, 1991).
The underlying basis of this model is that fostering these goals leads to a
stronger internal structure and plants the seeds for motivation to flourish. The
model is presented nonhierarchically as EXTERNAL STRUCTURE +
MOTIVATION + INFORMATION + ACCEPTANCE + SKILLS = EMPOWERMENT
(OHara & Harrell, 1991). All of the components must be included, or else the
goals of empowerment are likely to be unrealized.


173
to traumatic brain injury from the perspectives of survivors (Crisp, 2000; Hill,
1999). As such far too little is known about whether awareness, denial, or non-
compliance by survivors lead to poor rehabilitation outcomes or if other factors
are to blame. Likewise, too little is known about those survivors who far
surpass rehabilitation expectations and then are labeled anomalies to explain
the confounded reliability and validity of original prognoses (Hill, 1999). The
literature does not account for these discrepancies very well. Rather than
speculating from the outside in, perhaps it is time to begin asking questions
and learning from the inside out. That is, it is time to ask questions of those
who actually know what it is like to live with and adjust to traumatic brain injury.
The first purpose of this study was to examine in depth the perceptions
and experiences of adjustment and rehabilitation to traumatic brain injury of five
survivors. To gain this phenomenological perspective, questions were posed
that could not be answered by surveys or other quantitative assessment
techniques. These questions included the following, among others. What was
it like to incur and adjust to a traumatic brain injury? How did your
rehabilitation team help you with your goals? How did your rehabilitation
team impede you from reaching your goals? (Appendix A).
The methodology chosen to best address these questions was
qualitative case study. Case studies endeavor to examine the context and
particular phenomenon of a defined occurrence (Stake, 1995). The defined
occurrence(s) in this study were the experiences of adjustment and
rehabilitation to traumatic brain injury from the perspectives of survivors. The


61
Table 2
Ranchos Amigos Scale of Cognitive Functioning
Level I
No response
Patient in a deep sleep and
unresponsive
Level II
Generalized response
Patient reacts to stimuli non-
purposefully
Level III
Localized response
Patient reacts purposefully, but
inconsistently
Level IV
Confused-Agitated
Patient is hyperactive, cannot
process information
Level V
Confused-Inappropriate
Patient reacts to simple external
structure, not independently
Level VI
Confused Appropriate
Patient is goal directed, but
needs external direction
Level VII
Automatic Appropriate
Patient behaves appropriately,
but seems robot-like with
poor short term recall
Level VIII
Purposeful Appropriate
Patient alert, oriented, able to
integrate past and recent events
and is aware
(Nalkmus, Booth, & Kodimer, 1980)
Table 3
Measures of Duration of Amnesia
Less than 5 minutes
very mild
5 to 60 minutes
mild
1 to 24 hours
moderate
1 to 7 days
severe
1 to 4 weeks
very severe
More than 4 weeks
extremely severe
(McKinlay & Watkiss, 1999).


commitments to identity and those with achieved identity have encountered
conflict made commitments to identity (Marcia, 1993).
Assuming that the survivor of traumatic brain injury has acknowledged
and incorporated the changes brought upon them by their injury, then they have
experienced crisis. The decision to commit to an identity after acknowledging
the brain injury evidences the achieved identity stage. Lex, Shelley, Theresa
Lynn have all made commitments to their new identities and are pursuing
goals accordingly. Those who do not make a commitment to a new identity, but
acknowledge the injury or crisis are in moratorium. Bernie and Taz both
acknowledge and accept that they are now very different than before their
accidents, but both list aspirations that they have not committed to yet. For
instance, Bernie wants to own his own restaurant one day and has not yet
financially or vocationally committed to this goal. Taz knows he does not want
the job he has now. While he may take his old position at the mental health
hospital as a maintenance engineer, he has not committed to this yet because
he is unsure of his capability with it.
Survivors of traumatic brain injury who commit to an identity based on
recollections of the past or previous identity and have not acknowledged
deficits from the injury have been typically viewed as lacking awareness or
being in denial. However, considering this from Marcias model, they are
foreclosing their identity in conjunction with denial. They are making
commitments to an identity that has not been explored with the sequella of the
injury. The same may be said for survivors who make commitments to an


15
(Olkin, 1999). These individuals interact with the non-disabled community and
are accepted and treated as normal, especially if their disabilities are not too
severe or carry little stigma (Olkin, 1999). Because of being treated as normal,
there is little motivation to examine identity as anything other than normal, yet
these individuals admit a kinship to those who are disabled (Olkin, 1999;
Wright, 1983).
A second disability group that people with disabilities tend to identify with
is the Disability Identity Group (Olkin, 1999). These individuals have integrated
their disability with their self-concepts. Such individuals try to function in society
as normally as possible but may recognize that they need assistance from
those who are able-bodied (AB) (Deloach, 1981; Olkin, 1999). A third
disability identity, a group called the Civil Rights Group, is a subset of the
second, Disability Identity Group. This group takes a proactive approach,
having already incorporated their disability into identity. They see disability as a
social construct. These individuals view the disabled community as a minority
group that has been suppressed and actively advocates for them (Olkin, 1999).
Along with severity of disability and severity of residual effects of the
disability, two other factors determine how people with disabilities identify
themselves, including etiology of disability and degree of financial and social
dependence (Rubin & Roessler, 1995; Wright, 1983). The acquisition of a
disabling condition disrupts what would have been a normal development
process. The impact of incurring disability can have overwhelming effects on
the psychological, social, vocational, economic, and physical facets of daily


32
permanent loss or change has taken place (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Rodin,
Craven, & Littlefield, 1991).
Internalized anger is listed as a phase that involves self-blame and
resentment. Typically, individuals who experience this phase are in some way
responsible for the occurrence that caused disability. Suicidal ideation and
self-injurious behavior may occur during this phase as a result. For example,
Heinemann and Shontz (1984) described a case study of a male who acquired
paraplegia due to a hang-gliding accident. The young man was viewed as
extremely compliant through rehabilitation as he wished to appear to take
responsibility for the accident with no regrets but also minimized his disability.
A year later, he was re-hospitalized for a failed suicide attempt, having
experienced intense feelings of depression, hopelessness, and self-blame
(Heinemann & Shontz, 1984). Externalized anger is hostility that is directed
toward aspects of the environment, people, or objects believed to be related to
or caused the disabling condition. Examples of externalized anger are
passive-aggressive acts, abusive accusations, feelings of antagonism, and
blame directed at others (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
In the acknowledgment phase, individuals recognize that the conditions
imposed by disability are permanent. Individuals begin to re-orient themselves
with the environment as a process of integrating old and new self-concepts
ensues (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Olkin, 1999). Finally, adjustment refers to the
emotional and cognitive reconciliation that the acquired disabling condition is
permanent, triggering a process of re-acclimation with the environment. In this


48
Current laws and attitudes reflect modern beliefs and trends toward
humanism and inclusion that occurred early in the 20th century (Covey, 1998).
Rehabilitation became a recognized profession in the 20th century as a result
of concurrent changes and events such as advances in medical technologies
in institutions, industrialization, and the World Wars. During the early 20th
century war efforts, people with disabilities were hired into the work force. It
was noticed that such individuals were capable of making production rates
despite their handicaps. After World War II, mortality rates decreased as a
result of medical advances making re-assimilation into the work force for
disabled veterans necessary (Covey, 1998; Mackelprang & Salsgiver, 1996;
Zunker, 1998).
Earlier public policies such as the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917, the
Soldiers Rehabilitation Act of 1918, and the Smith-Fess Act of 1920 were
impetuses for evolving public laws and policies. The Smith-Hughes Act of
1917 provided federal dollars to match state dollars spent on vocational
education as a result of the nations trend from ruralization toward
industrialization. The Soldiers Rehabilitation Act of 1918 was the first federal
program designated for the purpose of vocationally rehabilitating disabled
veterans. Pensions were paid to veterans disabled in any activity while in the
service dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Vocational rehabilitation
was provided only to those deemed to be employable after receiving services
(Rubin & Roessler, 1995). The Smith-Fess Act of 1920 was the first civilian


184
The ethical responsibility faced by the medical and rehabilitation community is
enormous while practicing rehabilitation as they facilitate client habilitation.
Last, the Contextual Rehabilitation construct suggests that the
participants want and need their rehabilitation exercises to be relevant to their
individual needs and preferences. Most of the participants indicated that they
wanted their rehabilitation providers to respect, empower, and facilitate their
goals. However, because of training, rehabilitation teams adhere to protocols
and understood treatment paradigms in order to facilitate client goals. As such,
yet another paradox exists because having set programs, templates and
models contradicts what efficacy and empowerment purport. The recipients of
implemented treatment modalities may reject or confound treatment, if cookie
cutter cognitive and emotional exercises designed to restore skills or
compensate for permanent deficits are not meaningful and relevant. Worse,
treatment may be perceived as an authoritarian measure of imposing irrelevant
exercises upon the client.
Theoretical Considerations
The different implications for practice that the derived constructs provide
feedback for theory. The term rehabilitation was developed as a need to help
the injured and ill return to optimal states of functioning. It is philosophically
impossible to habilitate, that is, to learn to live, without the influence of others in
the environment. It also is impossible to rehabilitate without the same
influence. Therefore, it can be said that habilitation is a social concept and that
rehabilitation was constructed to suit society, both the disabled the non-


40
Individuals in moratorium and achieved identity status tend to be more mature
in behavior and decision making processes (Marcia, 1993, 1999). These four
statuses represent ways that adults reconcile different life crises, such as
incurring a disability and then committing to decisions. As mentioned
previously, making decisions affects and shapes development and adjustment
accordingly (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; McAdams, 1993; Wright, 1983)
The purpose of understanding and facilitating adjustment is to help
individuals achieve optimal functioning after disability is acquired. This is the
concept that encompasses rehabilitation. The issues, models, and theories
that explain the processes of adjustment to disability set forth parameters with
which to understand and plan for adjustment to occur (Maki & Riggar, 1997).
Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation Defined
Individuals, whether disabled or not, spend their initial years building a
repertoire of knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and experiences. The individual
is participating in a learning and foundation-building process known as
habilitation (Maki & Riggar, 1997; Wright, 1983). This foundational knowledge
is used as a reference point during rehabilitation treatment planning for both
the individuals with incurred disability, who remember how they were before,
and the rehabilitation team (Wright, 1983). Rehabilitation focuses upon
maximizing clients levels of functional independence in order to re-assimilate
into societal roles as independently as possible (Maki & Riggar, 1997; Olkin,
1999). Therefore, rehabilitation endeavors to return individuals with


23
the victims interpretation, Wright equates psychosocial adjustment with
acceptance versus denial of the incurred disability (Wright, 1983). She
proposed four changes that the individual must make in order to limit self
depreciation and maximize adjustment. These changes include identifying
values unaffected by disability, minimizing the importance of physical
appearance, confining the effects of disability to only the affected areas, and
transitioning values from being externally based to internally based (Livneh &
Antonak, 1997; Wright, 1983).
Shontz (1989) supported a form of qualitative inquiry that allowed the
researcher to examine experiences from the perspectives of survivor. Shontzs
personology approach used representative case studies to observe the
perceptions of people pertaining to their choices, experiences, motivation,
conflicts, and possibilities rather than environmental causalities (Shontz,
1989). The goals of personological research sought to enhance the ability of
researchers to gather data about contextual considerations, facilitate
understanding the human perspective, and develop effective ways of applying
theories to the individual rather than the masses (Shontz, 1989). In addition to
his philosophy of research with people with disabilities, Shontz offered his view
of adjustment.
Similar to Wright, he stated that adjustment was a dual process that
encompassed, first, the abilities of people to maximize environmental
opportunities and, second, the environment providing accommodations.
Shontz (1975) stated that adjustment was the last stage of a reaction process


86
specific, such as Tell me more about the experiences that your doctor helped
you with, or what other obstacles existed for you during your rehabilitation and
recovery?
The information was audio-taped and then transcribed into a computer
soon after each interview. Each 70- to 90-minute interview took 4 to 5 hours to
transcribe. Case studies were developed from the transcripts focusing on the
participants perceptions and experiences of adjustment and rehabilitation to
traumatic brain injury. Each case study took approximately 3 hours to construct.
Reliability and validity are determined by the participant in case study
research according to Stake (1995). Therefore, each case study was
presented to each participant for review and given Feedback Form 1
(Appendix B). Spending approximately 2 additional hours with each participant
for the case study review, each participant indicated that they were satisfied
with the accuracy of their case studies, making second interviews that
warranted use of Feedback Form 2 (Appendix C) unnecessary.
The data were analyzed using the constant comparative method that
consistently and cyclically compared the coded raw date until it had been
saturated (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Saturation is reached when comparisons
and cross comparisons of the coded date and themes yield the same themes,
categories, and constructs (Strauss & Corbin, 1990; Glaser & Strauss, 1967).
Specifically, each of the transcriptions was scrutinized by line and by
word by this researcher looking for specific words and topics used by the
participants. Then, the codes in each set of transcriptions were recorded into


22
A traumatic disability is usually the result of an accident or sudden
illness causing changes the ability to function in one or several domains and/or
appearance (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). While many theories exist speculating
the psychosocial recovery of the individual, it is agreed that the impact of a
traumatic disability has psychological implications for the individual (Livneh &
Antonak, 1997). One of the earlier attempts to conceptualize adjustment to
disability was presented by Dembo, Levitn, and Wright (1956) as a coping
framework. The coping framework listed characteristics that foster adjustment
of an individual with disability. These characteristics included emphasis on
residual capabilities, being proactive with shaping ones life, acknowledging
personal accomplishments, managing negative experiences, minimizing
environmental limitations, and participating in avocational or vocational
activities (Dembo, Levitn, & Wright, 1956, 1975; Livneh & Antonak, 1997). This
coping framework was opposite of a succumbing framework or mindset.
Those who succumbed to the effects of a disability rather than trying to
minimize the effects were viewed as succumbing.
Earlier Adjustment Paradigms
Wright (1983) expanded these writings and suggested that acceptance
or adjustment is the ability to minimize perceived or actual loss while retaining
value of residual capabilities (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). The difference between
perceived and actual loss is the same as the disabled individuals
interpretation of the lost functions versus what is actually lost (Livneh &
Antonak, 1997; Wright, 1983). Because the acceptance of a disability involves


133
Losses. One of Tazs biggest losses was his ability to excell in sports.
He explains that he can still play but moves much slower; he has lost his
agility. His eyesight also was affected by his accident. He once was a
proficient golfer who could outdrive Tiger Woods on the golf course. He states,
I was good. ... I could outdrive Woods and hes the best. He states that now
he is lucky to keep the ball on the fairway at all. He also explains that the
changes in his temperament and behavior were contributors to his second
divorce. While he welcomes the fact that he is a nicer, calmer person, he
recognizes that had the accident not happened, he would still be married,
perhaps. He does state that he really did not think this marriage was a good
one to begin with, however, it was a loss nonetheless.
His relationship with his sons also has changed. His second ex-wife
apparently tells his boys that he is half-brained now and retarded. Her lack
of understanding and anger toward him has caused his younger two boys to
view him differently, he feels. He is planning on consulting a counselor with
them and talking with them about everything so that they may obtain a better
understanding. He states his older son basically ignores and avoids talking
about the changes Taz has experienced. Taz states he allows this to an extent,
but maintains that reality is reality and things are different now.
Emotional phases of adjustment. Taz describes going through anger
and grief regarding the changes brought on by his brain injury. He states that
having no one to blame but himself has helped him to adjust, and he is able to
accept the changes rather than seeing himself as a victim.


217
Olkin, R. (1999V What psychotherapists should know about disability.
New York: The Guilford Press.
Ordia, J. (2000). Surgical management of traumatic brain injury. In B.
Woo & Nesathurai, C. (Eds.V The rehabilitation of people with traumatic brain
injury (pp. 35-44). Boston, MA: Boston Medical Center.
Pentland, B., & Whittle, I. (1999). Acute management of brain injury. In M.
Rosenthal, E. Griffith, J. Kreutzer & B. Pentland (Eds.). Rehabilitation of the
adult and child with traumatic brain injury (3rd ed., pp. 42-52). Philadelphia, PA:
F. A. Davis Company.
Perrin, B., & Nirje, B. (1985). Setting the record straight: A critique of
some frequent misconceptions of the normalization principle. Australia and
New Zealand Journal of Developmental Disabilities. 11(2). 69-74.
Prigatano, G. P. (1995). 1994 Sheldon Berrol, MD, Senior Lectureship:
The problem of lost normality after brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma
Rehabilitation. 10(3). 87-95.
Prigatano, G. P. (1999). Principles of neuropsychological rehabilitation.
New York: Oxford University Press.
Purtilo, R. (1991). Ethical issues in teamwork: Context of rehabilitation.
In R. Marinelli & D. Orto (Eds.), The psychological & social impact of disability
(pp. 23-31). New York: Springer.
Ragnarsson, K., Thomas, J., & Zasler, N. (1993). Model systems of care
for individuals with traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma
Rehabilitation. 8(2). 1-11.
Rangell, L. (1994). Identity and the human core: The view from
psychoanalytic theory. In H. A. Bosma et al. (Eds.), Identity and development:
An interdisciplinary approach (pp. 25-40). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Richard, M. (2000). A discrepancy model for measuring consumer
satisfaction with rehabilitation services. The Journal of Rehabilitation, 66(4),
37-49.
Rodin, G., Craven, J., & Littlefield, C. (1991V Depression in the medically
ill: An integrated approach. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Roessler, R. T., & Sumner, G. (1997). Employer opinions about
accommodating employees with chronic illnesses. Journal of Applied
Rehabilitation Counseling, 28(3), 29-34.


5
1999; Prigatano, 1999). Because the extent and combination of affected
domains is different for each survivor, the rehabilitation team faces unique
challenges. Because this disability group has far-reaching neurobehavioral
and cognitive implications, interpreting differences between client and
treatment goals is easily dismissed as lacking insight, awareness, or clutching
to denial (Hill, 1999; Prigatano, 1999).
Measures such as the Glasgow Coma Scale (1974) implemented to
categorize and predict outcomes for survivors with traumatic brain injury as
mild, moderate, or severe seem to take into account physical variables in acute
phases of injury. Positive correlations have been found between predictions
and outcomes for survivors that indicate that such instruments are reliable
(Krauss & McArthur, 1999). Other studies suggest little or no relationship
between predictions and outcomes that should raise serious questions of
validity to rehabilitation providers (Krauss & McArthur, 1999).
Several researchers suggest that problems exist when predictions and
prognoses take place out of context (Hill, 1999; Livneh & Antonak, 1997;
Prigatano, 1999). To explore or even predict behavior out of context runs the
risk of limiting the individual to the parameters of the outside observers. Only
the survivor is expert on fully understanding the challenge(s) of adapting to an
imposed disability. Endeavoring to learn these challenges
phenomenologically is critical in rehabilitation planning (Prigatano, 1999).
Understanding the client perspectives is paramount as it is the only way to
maximize consumer/survivor involvement and to best facilitate restoration to


113
After taking a course in landscape ecology, Lex met two graduate
students and a professor who encouraged him to keep trying and to pursue
getting into graduate school. He works with one of these individuals now as an
aide and with another for his thesis. After he receives his masters degree, he
is planning to pursue his doctorate in the College of Natural Resources and
Environment.
Lex attributes his successes so far not only to his own determination but
also to his physicians interventions and to the support from these students
and professors. He views his adjustment process as a learning process and
not necessarily as a losses versus gains issue. He also minimizes his
adjustment process because he does not view necessarily his recovery from
brain injury as adjustment but as a new learning process that is similar to how
he coped previously with having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Further,
he views his own survival and adjustment not in terms of being different or
providing an example for others but to meeting his own needs and goals. He
states that it is out of sheer greed that he perseveres and keeps going. His
only regret is that he is not as outgoing as he used to be but laughingly jokes
that this may not be a bad thing because he wants no distraction from his
mission. Last, Lex wanted to reiterate the gratitude he has for his mother,
brother, and father, as they have been a vital part of his past, current, and future
successes.


213
Erikson, J. M. (1997). The ninth stage. In E. H. Erikson (Ed.), The life
cycle completed: Extended version (pp. 105-114). New York: Norton.
Fabiano, R. J., & Daugherty, J. (1998). Rehabilitation considerations
following mild traumatic brain injury. The Journal of Rehabilitation. 64 (41. 4-14.
Fine, M., & Asch, A. (1988). Disability beyond stigma: Social interaction,
discrimination, and activism. Journal of Social Issues. 44(11. 3-21.
Fleischer, D., & Zames, F. (1998). Disability rights. Social Policy, 28(3).
52-56.
Freud, S. (1894T The neuropsychoses of defense (3rd ed.). Stanford, CA:
Stanford University Press.
Freud, S. (1924). A general introduction to psychoanalysis (24th ed.).
New York: Simon and Schuster.
Freud, S. (1936). The problem of anxiety. New York: Psychoanalytic
Quarterly Press.
Freud, S. (1961). Complete psychological works (Vol. 19). London:
Hogarth.
Gall, M., Borg, W., & Gall, J. (1996). Educational research: An
introduction (6th ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman.
Gilson, S., & Depoy, E. (2000). Multiculturalism and disability: A critical
perspective. Disability & society. 15(21. 207-218.
Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory:
Strategies for qualitative research. New York: Aldine De Gruyter.
Gordon, J., & Shontz, F. C. (1990). Living with the AIDS virus: A
representative case. Journal of Counseling and Development, 68(3). 287-292.
Graham, D. I. (1999). Pathophysiological aspects of injury and
mechanisms of recovery. In M. Rosenthal, E. Griffith, J. Kreutzer, & B. Pentland
(Eds.), Rehabilitation of the adult and child with traumatic brain injury (3rd ed.,
pp. 19-41). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis Company.
Hahn, H. (1987). Civil rights for disabled Americans: The foundation of a
political agenda. In a. Gartner & T. Joe (Eds.), Images of the disabled, disabling
images, pp. 181-203. New York: Praeger.


57
of complications, coma, and death; patients may seem fine initially but later
decline due to the increasing pressure within the brain due to hemorrhaging
(Graham, 1999). Cortical contusions, bruising of the brain, are most commonly
associated with traumatic brain injuries. These contusions are more
predictable because, upon impact, the brain is thrust upon the bony
protrusions of the inside wall of the skull. Upon doing so, the brain
experiences coup and contrecoup ricochet effect inside of the skull case. Coup
injuries to the brain occur as the brain is thrust forward in the direction of the
impact. Contrecoup injuries occur to the opposite side of the brain after the
coup impact has bounced in the opposite direction (Burke & Ordia, 2000).
Secondary injuries
Secondary injuries are injuries that occur as a result of the biochemical
and physiological changes occurring within hours or days after initial impact.
Neuro-chemical and cellular changes can take place as a result of failing
autonomic systems. Keeping patients properly oxygenated is critical; too much
oxygen to the brain could result in increased blood flow and increased
hemorrhaging; however, too little oxygen could suffocate brain cells (Graham,
1999). In addition, neuro-chemical agents are released that can lead to other
secondary complications such as swelling, cell toxicity, and lesions (Burke &
Ordia, 2000). Other secondary complications include intracranial pressure
(ICP), cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), and hydrocephalus, also know as
water build up in the brain, and co-morbid injuries occurring elsewhere in the
body (Burke & Ordia, 2000).


152
Hara and Harrells Empowerment Model for Brain Injury Rehabilitation (1990),
and then with Prigatanos Principals of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation
(1999).
Summary
Five case studies were constructed from transcriptions of five audio-
recorded semi-structured interviews with five survivors of traumatic brain injury.
Then the constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) was applied
to the transcripts of five interviews with survivors with traumatic brain injury that
ascertained their perceptions of adjustment to their injuries. The data
produced five constructs including Family Support that indicated the
importance of supportive family members to participant adjustment. A second
construct included Sense of Being Reborn that described frustration at having
to relearn everything from fundamental tasks such as walking, talking, and
toilet training as well as more complex tasks such as learning to think and feel
again. A third construct was Development of Coping Mechanisms that
suggested that participants adopted adaptive strategies to facilitate their
adjustment to their injuries. A fourth construct included Emotional Phases of
Adjustment that discovered two emotions common to all five participants--
anger and grief. The fifth construct was Contextual Rehabilitation that
indicated the importance of understanding the survivor perspective
phenomenologically before imposing treatment objectives. The case studies
and the derived constructs achieved what was intended in the first purpose.
The results of the second purpose is presented next in Chapter 5 focusing on


107
accident he does not have as many mood swings. He states that before the
accident, he was prone to mood swings and violence, becoming angry, ripping
phones out of walls, and becoming involved in brawls frequently. After his
accident, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and currently takes
medication to help him control his anger. He is thankful for this medication and
plans to continue taking it unless his insurance stops paying for it.
While his counseling and cognitive remediation therapies taught him to
focus, he felt that many of the exercises were useless and inappropriate. He
described one exercise that required him to complete a crossword puzzle in 60
seconds. Another exercise required him to make a certain criterion score that
even his parents and doctor could not achieve. He indicated his dissatisfaction
and dismay that expectations were so high. When he suggested other
exercises, the rehabilitation team reconstructed his exercises accordingly. Taz
recalls having hated including his ex-wife in rehabilitation planning and
interactions. He did not love her anymore and became exasperated numerous
times at having to include her and interact with her. He tried to let his
rehabilitation providers know that he did not want to stay married to her or have
her involved in rehabilitation planning. She earlier had signed papers to have
him sent to a nursing home, but his parents prevented this from happening. If
it werent for my folks, Id be wasting away in some home somewhere, he
explains.
If given the chance to change anything about his rehabilitation, Taz would
not require spouses to play an active role in rehabilitation treatment and


179
Limitations
In reviewing the results, several limitations of this study should be
stressed. Case studies are intended to represent only those cases examined.
The aim of this research was to examine the particular events in the lives of
five individuals who survived and adjusted to traumatic brain injury. In doing so,
readers were able to peek inside the lives of five survivors and come to a better
understanding of what it might be like. This information has the capacity for
providing comparison points for future research with survivors of traumatic
brain injury, but does not purport to represent all survivors of traumatic brain
injury. The sample size was small, consisting of just five individuals who were
carefully screened from pools of volunteers for this study. This number of
individuals was large enough to conduct comparisons and data analysis so as
to saturate the data. The sample was small enough to able to conduct
thorough interviews.
This population consisted of individuals who reside in northern central
Florida in the United States of America from middle level socioeconomic
backgrounds and all obtained post-secondary education or training. Therefore,
commonalities and differences were found among individuals who shared
similar rather than diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and education. In
addition, the age range of these individuals was 22 to 38 years old. While the
focus was upon adult populations, there were no participants in their 40s or
50s to give examples of middle adulthood adjustment issues. Further, the
participants were not representative of a racially diverse population as they


151
up in an apartment on the grounds of the hospital and worked with him to re
teach his activities of daily living. They also coached him while working in the
rehabilitation cafeteria.
The other four gave accounts of their rehabilitation teams arguing with
them about their chosen goals for work, driving, or school. The participants
were aware that their teams were pointing out that their long-term goals might
never be reached because of the changes caused by each of their injuries.
However, the participants each knew somewhere inside" that they could
aspire to their goals eventually and felt that their rehabilitation teams were
limiting their propensity to do so.
These constructs represent the themes and categories found to be
common with each of the participants after analyzing the transcripts. The
reader may notice that certain categories disappeared or were absorbed by a
construct. For instance, the losses and post-accident categories were
included under contextual rehabilitation. The spirituality category could not
become a construct because only four of the five participants experienced or
included spirituality as a part of the rehabilitation process. The first purpose of
this study was to ascertain the experiences and perceptions of adjustment to
traumatic brain injury from the perspective of survivors. By doing so, the aim
was to discover common constructs and to compare them with existing brain
injury rehabilitation paradigms. The following chapter presents the contrasts
and comparisons between the constructs discovered from the data and Livneh
and Antonaks Psychosocial Adaptation and Adjustment to Disability (1997), O


174
case studies were constructed from semi-structured interviews with the five
participants that were audio-taped and transcribed.
The second purpose of this study was to compare any common
constructs derived from the data transcriptions with three models of disability
and traumatic brain injury. In order to do this, the transcriptions were
systematically and cyclically analyzed using the constant comparative method
developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967). The constructs were derived after
multiple level comparisons that developed themes and categories, presented
in Chapter 4. These constructs were then compared with the constructs
described in the Psychosocial Adaptation Model of Disability (Livneh & Antonak,
1997), the Empowerment Model for Rehabilitation of Brain Injury Survivors
(OHara & Harrell, 1990), and the Holistic Model for Neuropsychological
Rehabilitation (Prigatano, 1999).
Review of the Case Studies and Constructs
Five transcriptions were produced from five semi-structured interviews
and were used to construct case studies and to analyze to determine themes,
categories and constructs. Themes were uncovered and then organized into
nine categories after multiple comparisons and cross comparisons.
The nine categories include family, coping mechanisms, post
accident changes, losses, emotional phases of adjustment, starting life
over/ rebirth, things rehabilitation should change, positive things about
rehabilitation, and spirituality. The themes for each participant were then
cross-compared to derive constructs. After these comparisons, categories


26
victim, and assuming that mourning the loss of function has to take place
(Vash, 1981).
Another determinant affecting psychosocial functioning is the nature of
the injury or disability. The type of disability seems to influence the perceptions
of the survivor and the public. For instance, auto-immune deficiency syndrome
(AIDS) carries a more negative stigma than pancreatitis, both of which involve
immune system malfunction (Olkin, 1999). Severity and age of occurrence and
visibility of the disability affect rehabilitation treatment planning, as well as
public perception (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Olkin, 1999; Vash, 1981). Those
who look different or abnormal generally are believed to be more handicapped
than those with invisible disabilities (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Shontz, 1985;
Wright, 1983).
For those facing terminal illness, rehabilitation objectives include getting
affairs in order, grief and bereavement counseling for family members,
lessening the demands of vocational activities, and focusing on avocational
activities (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). Those who incur non-life-threatening
disease or injury experience shifts in psychosocial functioning such as
changing jobs or physical activities. As the ramifications of the incurred
maladies are drastically different, so are the intrapsychological variables of the
individual. The previously mentioned variables are constant for both groups;
however, the utilization may be different. For instance, cancer patients who are
in denial about the lethality of cancer may hasten their deaths if ignored or
refused. Similarly, brain-injured patients who are in denial about their injuries


30
instance, anxiety and depression had different intensities after time passed
(Livneh & Antonak, 1991). The phase model also makes several assumptions.
For instance, permanent, significant changes and psychological dissonance
must be experienced, and the phases do not occur in sequence or in isolation
of other phases (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
Shock is a common initial response to overwhelming physical and
psychological trauma and may be experienced physically or psychologically as
a numbing, confusing, depersonalized, or retarded state of being (Livneh &
Antonak, 1997). Anxiety is another response to trauma and is experienced as
irritability or heightened emotion after initially learning of the incurred trauma or
illness. Physiological reactions may coincide with this phase, such as rapid
pulse, breathing difficulties, or non-productive hyperactivity, for instance, that
may heighten the individuals state of shock (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
Denial as a reaction to disability is usually seen as a coping phase or
stage experienced by an individual during the rehabilitation process. Billings
and Moos (1981) outlined a two-faceted conceptual model of coping with
denial. In facet one, the process of coping has three components. The first
component focuses on appraisal of situation and is affected by logical
analysis, cognitive redefinition, avoidance, and denial of the crisis life event
incurred. The second component focuses on problems and how to solve them
in the external sense, such as through support systems or resource availability.
The third component focuses upon the emotionality of the individual, such as
affective regulation or acceptance level. The second facet is comprised of three


96
thinking, and feeling. She admits that the speech therapy helped the most
because this is when she began remembering long-term memories again.
After her discharge, she returned home where she became even more
frustrated. She was unable to do routine things such as caring for her animals,
washing her clothes or even walking in the hall. She always was independent
before and hated having to have her family help her so much, especially with
washing her clothes. In her spare time, she would play hand-held video
games that inadvertently served as an excellent form of cognitive remediation,
she later learned. She was also given some rehabilitation tips and exercises
from a physical therapist in Ocala and practiced these endlessly at her home.
After much practice, perseverance, and determination, Teresa Lynn began
walking again with no assistance or devices.
Teresa Lynn states that she used two sources of strength for inspiration.
She explains that her father has had various injuries over the years. She
witnessed him persevering, despite his own discomfort and pain. She figured
that if her father could do it, so could she. Her second source of strength was
and is God to Whom she turns regularly. Teresa Lynn admitted to having times
when she did not feel as if she could continue and wondered why God let her
live. She also confessed to having feelings of irritation and even jealousy of
those who did not go through what she went through. In pondering these
thoughts and feelings, she thought that God must have a purpose for her and
determined through prayer and thought that she was meant to help others as
she had been helped. This is how she decided upon her goal of becoming a


components. Four categories of adjustment and adaptation exist and are
presented as Class I variables, Class II variables, Class III variables, and
Class IV variables according to Livneh and Antonak (1997).
156
Class I variables contain disability characteristics such as age, extent of
injury, type of injury, degree of neurological impairment, and lethality. Class II
variables consist of socio-demographic information including gender, ethnicity,
developmental stage, education, marital status, and job title. Class III variables
include values, self-image, pre-trauma psychosocial adaptation, attitudes,
locus of control, and defense mechanisms. Class IV variables are socio-
environmental factors such as home environment, social groups, friends, and
attitudinal barriers imposed upon the client (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
These four classes of variables affect each stage of progression while
adjusting and adapting to disability. These stages of progression include an
early stage that involves shock, anxiety, and denial of the trauma. Intermediate
states focus upon steps toward acceptance of the incurred trauma and include
anger and depression. The later stages move the survivor toward acceptance
and adjustment. A circular accounts for different reactions and decisions
regarding the trauma at any given point during the process, eliminating the
model from being a linear stage model entirely (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability Model and the Constructs
Of constructs that were derived from the data analysis of the five
participants, two seem to have points of comparison. The construct Sense of
Being Reborn contains elements of frustration, humiliation, and anger. All five


67
literature are one that is community-based and one that is systems-based
(Dahmer et al., 1993; Ragnarsson, Thomas, & Zasler, 1993).
The systems-based treatment modality is predominantly inpatient and
medically based as it is designed to treat acute stages of moderate to severe
injuries. This model usually takes place at a facility where a combination of
services is implemented including medical care, psychiatric services,
counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology,
vocational counseling, and recreational therapy. Once the patient achieves
criteria set by the rehabilitation team for a reasonable level of functional
independence, the patient begins a transition to the home environment with the
family. From here patients participate in day treatment until discharge is
determined appropriate by the team. Financial resources as well as the patient
support system usually impact determination of patient discharge to the home.
With some facilities, case managers follow the case and check in on the
client and aid in facilitating transition. Ultimately, it is up to the client to transfer
the skills acquired at the facility to home (Brain Injury Association, 2000).
Community-based programs implement treatment in settings other than
medical facilities. Once patients are deemed medically stable, they can
participate in specialized therapies within their homes working in occupational
therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology, counseling, and vocational
counseling. Such services are designed to facilitate the survivors in
transitioning from dependence to independence within their communities.
Another example of a community-based program is that of a supported


108
planning. He would require the rehabilitation team to include his goals and to
listen to his wants and needs. He also would increase doctor-patient
interactions, as he feels that the physicians directing the rehabilitation team
should play a more interactive role with patients. He also would like
rehabilitation team members to realize that just because he does not want to
participate in certain activities, he is not being noncompliant. He simply has
other ideas about how to pursue certain tasks. For instance, rather than having
to do crossword puzzles, he would rather read something he is interested in
and then complete recall exercises from it in time intervals.
He also voices his frustration with having to stick to an unrealistic fake
budget in his rehabilitation. Taz was given a budget of $4 to buy a meal with
and explains, That only buys a side order of potatoes! He states, I was
always flunked for ordering balanced, nutritional meals that cost at least double
if not triple the cost, depending on the restaurant. He also admits to being
distracted by attractive female therapists. He describes his motivation to
participate in rehabilitation but admittedly was distracted from his rehabilitation
endeavors because of his attraction to them. He has an excellent relationship
with his current psychiatrist who tells it like it is with him. He attributes much
progress with having worked with him toward rehabilitation goals.
Taz is currently distressed about having his parents so much involved
with his life socially and with his rehabilitation. He feels that his doctors and
parents have attributed his negative qualities, such as impulsive spending and
his anger outbursts, to his accident. He states that these qualities were always


events that happened before her accident as well as afterward to give the
researcher comparisons to her before and after her accident.
121
Family. Theresa Lynn is very close with her family. She lives with her
mother, father, and brother on their property in a rural area of Marion County,
Florida. According to Theresa Lynn, They are my closest friends and if it
werent for them, I may not have gotten this far. They came to see me all the
time while I was in the hospital, even if I dont remember all of it. Especially
my mom . she came and stayed every day reading, talking, and singing to
me. They have been very important to her recovery from her acute injuries and
traumatic brain injury. She described memories of spending time with her
family as very special and meaningful. She states, We always do things
together as a family, like church, camping, four-wheeling, froggin. . . We
really have fun. She told of how her father used to drive her and her brother to
the mountains and load their pickup truck full of snow and then unload it in their
yard so they could play with friends. She used her disabled father as an
example of tolerating and persevering through her pain to reach her goals.
Coping mechanisms. Teresa Lynn is a spiritual person and describes
her religious preference as Christian. She utilized prayer to Jesus and God as
means to help her with her challenges in adjustment. She also relied on her
own independence and determination. As she puts it, I would just tell myself
to keep going, Theresa Lynn, you can do it. You can deal with this pain. She
also used her father as a source of inspiration as he has had many injuries
over the years that have left him disabled. She stated, If Dad can do it, so can


117
Her grandmother lived through the two World Wars in Germany and imparted
many stories and words of wisdom to Shelley in her youth.
Shelley explained that she was in a rehabilitation hospital for
approximately 2 weeks and then was discharged. Evidently, the rehabilitation
team at the hospital felt they could do no more and that she would be
vegetable-like for the duration of her life. Her mother explained that had the
medical doctors treating her been allowed, Shelley would have been
pronounced dead while in the hospital. Her mother insisted on keeping her
alive despite the poor prognoses. Shelleys family studied and worked hard to
help her come out of her coma and continued to work with her after she
awakened. Shelley had home nurses and rehabilitation personnel come to her
house to administer various rehabilitation therapies to her. For instance, they
would keep her muscles stretched and work them in the event that she would
walk again.
Shelley explains that she truly had to learn everything all over again. As
she puts it, It is how God intended it anyway ... you have to sit before you can
crawl, crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. Not to
anyones surprise, Shelley and her family used music as a modality for her
cognitive rehabilitation. After all, according to Shelley, playing the violin uses 48
brain processes, so why not try playing and reading music again. Shelley
finally was admitted to a rehabilitation hospital after it could not be disputed that
she was not a vegetable and could participate and make progress.


126
and cooking in his spare time. Cooking was once his profession; he was
employed as a cook before his motorcycle accident in 1989 that left him with a
crushed right wrist and a traumatic brain injury. Since then, he has graduated
from culinary school with honors, but finds the pace of his present job less
taxing.
Family. Bernie states that he is close to his family and feels that their
support has been one of the largest contributing factors to his success in
recovering from his accident and traumatic brain injury. He states, My parents
helped a lot and joked around with me too. His parents and two brothers all
live in the area and visit him regularly and assist him, if need be. He also has
an 11-year-old son and is very active with him and proud of him. Bernie feels
that his son has been a tremendous source of inspiration and reason to
persevere despite many obstacles. He states, He is such a cool kid! He is a
good kid too, you know, good, but good at sports, surfing. Bernie states, He is
all of the things I wanted in a son.
Copina mechanisms. Bernie copes by using his son as a reminder that
he has a reason to keep going whenever he is feeling down. He says, My
accident has forced me to slow down and calm down so I can be more
responsible as a father. He also relies on support from friends and family to
help him overlook obstacles and keep his focus on his goals. He states that
he also is pretty funny and uses humor to lighten heavy situations. He states,
I have always been a jokester. My ex-wife hated it. When I was in the hospital,
I would crack a bunch of jokes and my ex-wife would complain. And my aunt


31
components including active-cognitive, active-behavioral, and avoidance
(Billings & Moos, 1981).
Denial is controversial according to some researchers and practitioners
who view it as a phase of the recovery process after an individual has
experienced crisis. Others view denial as a distortion of reality in an effort to
alleviate anxiety. Freud (1936) believed that it operates unconsciously and
therefore is inaccessible with insight. Wright (1983) discussed denial in her
model of rehabilitation, stating that denial could be viewed or renamed as as
if' behavior. /As if' behavior is when the individual with illness or disability acts
as if it did not exist or attempts to minimize the effects of such (Wright, 1983).
She believed that doing so is valuable because the individual is allowed to
slowly acclimate to the reality of adventitious injury or disease. Some
researchers believe that denial may be an important survival mechanism when
faced with extreme distress or anxiety elicited by crisis (Langer, 1994). While
denial may initially aid in assimilating the occurrence of disability into belief and
reality, its continuance leads to dysfunction and potential danger (Langer,
1994). The denial of a disability or illness may create danger for the individual
or others if the individual attempts to do tasks that are no longer possible due
to limitations and handicaps (Langer, 1994).
Feelings of hopelessness, despair, and grief have been observed as
common reactions to acquired disability. Other common depressive
symptoms that comprise the depression phase are self-devaluation, isolation,
despair, and helplessness that may be experienced after realizing that


142
She is confident and pleasant in her interactions and openly shares her
experiences since acquiring a traumatic brain injury in 1992. She is attractive,
naturally blond, congenial, walks with a limp, and sometimes has slowed
speech. She currently works instructing students in violin according to the style
of Dr. Suzuki. She prefers one-on-one interactions to large crowds though she
can deal with crowds because of her many performances as a musician and
dancer before her accident.
She began playing the violin at 18 months of age under her mothers
tutelage and the piano at 5 years of age. She was very talented and earned a
full scholarship in music to a Florida university. She attended for only 1 year,
however, because as she puts it, I wasted my talent and opportunities
because of an addictive, unhealthy relationship. After losing her scholarship,
she used her talents to support herself by performing in bands and dancing.
Since her accident, she has graduated from a community college with
an Associate of Arts degree and had once planned on pursuing her Bachelor of
Arts degree in childhood education. She has changed this goal and currently is
writing a book about her experiences. Shelleys accident was severe, as she
sustained a traumatic brain injury and a lacerated brain stem. She was in a
coma for 4 months and was not expected to live. She was expected to remain
in a vegetable-like state of awareness that she has clearly overcome and
surpassed. The themes derived from her experiences are given below.
Family. Shelley believes that her mother, family, and friends have been
the biggest reason for her survival and successes in adjusting to her brain


APPENDIX C
FEEDBACK FORM 2
Please take the time to complete the following form after you have read
your case study. Where applicable, please circle a number that indicates how
you rate your answers to the following questions.
The numbers from 1 to 5 indicate: (1) Very inaccurate (2) somewhat inaccurate
(3) neutral (4) somewhat accurate (5) very accurate for the following questions.
1.Flow would you rate the accuracy of your case study?
1 2 3 4 5
For the following questions, please circle Yes or No.
2. Are you satisfied with your case study that has been produced?
Yes No
3. Would you like to add or change anything about your case study?
Yes No
On a scale of 1 to 5, indicate the following in regard to the statement below:
(1) not confident (2) somewhat not confident (3) neutral (4) somewhat
confident or (5) confident.
4. I am confident that I am satisfied with the results and accuracy of my case
study.
1 2 3 4 5
Please give comments or suggestions:
197


41
adventitious injury or illness to optimal states of functioning. Idealistically, a
team of rehabilitation professionals such as medical doctors, nurses,
occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech pathologists,
psychologists, and rehabilitation counselors works with the rehabilitation
candidates to achieve goals set by the patients in specific areas of functioning
including psychological, vocational, sociological, and physical spheres (Purtilo,
1991; Olkin, 1999). Rehabilitation team members form a collaborative,
cohesive bond to work toward client goals; however, issues may arise that
work against the morals and ethics of the team concept (Maki & Riggar, 1997;
Naji, 1975).
Rehabilitation Goals and Confounding Variables
The goal of the team is to foster patient autonomy by honoring the
desired outcomes goals of patients. By giving the client this autonomous role,
the team empowers and acknowledges that patients are the rightful and
rational owners of their destinies. The team, therefore, acts to respect patient
autonomy, upholding the beneficiance morality (Purtilo, 1991). The team holds
discussions that consider patient welfare, focusing upon the individuals
abilities to set reasonable, achievable goals. Upon finding that the individual is
making harmful or irrational decisions, the team may decide to impose
opinions, a concept known as paternalism (Purtilo, 1991). The paternalistic
dynamic of the rehabilitation team is controversial because, when employing
paternalism, the team endeavors to maintain a standard that allows client
autonomy, known as beneficiance. However, the team may, at times, exclude


170
emphasized different aspects of the constructs. Premises such as
understanding, empowering, and including client perspective in rehabilitation
treatment are supported by constructs in the models and data. The data
suggest, however, that these premises are lost in practice and implementation
at times. Chapter 6 contains a discussion of the limitations, recommendations,
and implications for future research.


59
barbituate coma is considered until ICP has been at optimal levels for over 24
hours (Ordia, 2000).
Scales Used to Categorize Brain Iniurv Severity
The Glasgow Coma Scale (1974) is widely used to measure levels of
unconsciousness or coma that indicate the severity of brain injury. This scale
assesses patient response to verbal commands, motor movement
commands, and responses with eyes (Table 1).
Another measurement used to categorize, then predict neurological and
neurobehavioral outcomes after incurring traumatic brain injury is the Ranchos
Los Amigos Scale of Cognitive Functioning. The Rancho Los Amigos Scale of
Cognitive Functioning categorizes behavioral responses used in the Glasgow
Coma Scale on a total of eight levels (Table 2).
Another scale commonly used to anticipate severity of injury measures
the duration of amnesia following injury, known as post-traumatic amnesia.
Another type of amnesia is the loss of memory of events prior to an accident
known as retrograde amnesia (McKinlay & Watkiss, 1999). The following
criteria are use to categorize the severity of injury (Table 3).
The impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can range from mild deficits to
severe deficits causing symptomatic problems cognitively, behaviorally, or
physically. Some deficits may remain permanent while others may go through
a spontaneous recovery (Prigatano, 1999). The above-mentioned scales are
common tools used to categorize the severity of injury and positive correlations
have been documented between the levels of coma, duration of amnesia with


58
Other factors thought to impact medical and rehabilitation outcomes for
individuals incurring traumatic brain injury are duration and level of
unconsciousness or coma, duration of amnesia before and after injury,
hypoxia, and blood alcohol level (Moore & Stambrook, 1995; Prigatano, 1999).
The initial assessment includes assessment techniques to determine the
condition of the injury victim such as level of consciousness gauged by
Glasgow Coma Scale, pupil size and response, blood pressure, and heart
rate. Additionally, a mental status examination, reflex, muscle strength, and
sensation are performed to assess neurological abnormalities, but patient
response is required and may not be available if unconscious (Ordia, 2000).
Indicators for admission to the hospital for observation include altered level of
consciousness, prolonged loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting,
seizures, severe headaches, focal neurological signs, skull fracture, cerebral
contusion, hematoma, edema, or cerebrospinal fluid presence (Ordia, 2000).
Surgical management of intracranial hemorrhages, penetrating injuries,
and intracranial pressure may become necessary for the moderate to severe
injuries, though mild injuries are not excluded. Initial treatments include
osmotic diuretic treatment which is the administration of agents to dehydrate
the brain, blood pressure management, elevation of the head to foster proper
fluid drainage, controlled hyperventilation to keep oxygen in the brain regulated,
temperature control, sedation to foster proper vascularization, and anti-seizure
medication. If intracranial pressure is unmanageable, then inducing a


75
applied to the larger majority. The problem with this epistemology is that
phenomenon observed in static environments may not be relevant to the
individual contexts of human behavior and experience (Bogden & Biklen,1992;
Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996; Stake, 1995). Further, quantitative methodologies are
more concerned with the relationships among phenomenon and less
concerned with its specific details. Positivism or quantitative inquiry is like
casting a net and then studying the relationships and differences among the
specimen caught. Post-positivist inquiry, the theoretical basis for qualitative
inquiry, takes into account the nuances, relationships, and particulars of an
individuals natural environment. Qualitative case study endeavors to examine
intensively a defined, bounded instance of an individual experience (Stake,
1995). Analogously, case study is the examination of just one of the specimen
caught among the haul rather than examination of relationships among the
entire haul (Runkel, 1990). The research questions posed below are
answered best by using a methodology such as case study research that
examines details in depth and within context.
Research Questions
1. What perceptions do individuals with traumatic brain injury have of their
injury and rehabilitation?
2. How do the survivors of traumatic brain injury view their adjustment?
3. How does the survivor of traumatic brain injury evaluate rehabilitation
progress and adjustment?
4. How do the perceptions of the survivors of traumatic brain injury
compare with theories of disability and traumatic brain injury
adjustment?


150
participants relied upon inner strengths such as motivation, tenacity, and
determination to reach goals.
Emotional Phases of Adjustment
Each of the participants experienced varying levels of emotions such as
denial, frustration, anger, grief, and depression while adjusting to their injuries.
These emotions have been conceptualized by Livneh and Antonak (1997) and
discussed in earlier chapters as phases of adjustment and adaptation to
disability. Prigatano (1999) also discussed these emotions along with
confusion as being common emotions that individuals with traumatic brain
injuries experience in the adjustment processes.
Contextual Rehabilitation
All of the participants discussed the changes within themselves and the
things and people they lost as a result of the differences. Each discussed
these changes on some level and the need for rehabilitation goals to address
who they were after the accident. Consequently, losses and post-accident
categories were absorbed by this contrast. All of the participants gave
descriptions of how rehabilitation goals either were or were not relevant to
them. Of the five participants, one states that he was satisfied with the efforts
and goals that were set by his rehabilitation team. He also states, however,
that his rehabilitation team listened to his goals. He had been a chef in training
before his accident and wanted to finish his training as a chef and cook again.
He also wanted to live independently. Hence, his rehabilitation team set him


194
9. Last, longitudinal studies of survivors of traumatic brain injury that are
followed for 10 to 20 years may provide valuable information about
how humans acclimate to this injury. As infeasible as this type of
research can be, it could provide specific and intensive feedback
from each individual followed.
After ascertaining the perceptions of adjusting to traumatic brain injury
from five survivors, constructs developed from inquiries of these survivors were
compared with models of brain injury rehabilitation. During this process,
several philosophical and practice paradoxes were discovered.
Phenomenology seems to be competing with humanism within the same
theories and models that purport to treat brain injured populations. As such,
additional research is warranted and anticipated.


53
changes in both the attitude of the representative public as well as disabled
individuals aiming to assimilate with society after a disability is inflicted.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Statistics
Adults with traumatic brain injury are the chosen focus for this research.
In 1985, the projected cost of lifetime care for a person with incurred traumatic
brain injury was only $85,000 per person across all levels of severity. By 1999,
advances in medical technology have improved survival rates for individuals
with severe traumatic brain injury that drove up the cost of lifetime care by as
much as four times the original projection to approximately $300,000 per
instance of severe head trauma (Kraus & McArthur, 1999). In 1995 Miller et al.
collected data from the late 1980s from workers compensation data banks
and found that medical costs for all severe head injuries approached $300,000
per instance as cited in Kraus and McArthur (1999). It was also found that
acute medical costs for the more severe injuries approached $2.4 million
based on the 1994 research of Miller et al., as reported by Kraus and McArthur
(1999). The total cost per new instance in head injury in the United States is
$6.5 billion with the cost of the subsequent years medical cost projected at
$13.5 billion (Kraus & McArthur, 1999).
Because of the increased survival rates of individuals with traumatic
brain injury, the rehabilitation needs also had increased dramatically,
emphasizing the need for a better understanding of traumatic brain injury and
its effects. Traumatic brain injury is acquired damage to the brain as a result of


114
Case Study 5: Shellev
Arriving for the interview late, Shelley and her mother indicated they had
been attending to a baby squirrel that one of their four dachshund dogs brought
in from the yard. The squirrel was not injured by the dog but also was not
moving, so it was transported to a squirrel caregiver nearby. Shelley lives with
her mother and niece in a two-story house in the center of a north-central
Florida town. Her mother, being from Germany, speaks with a German accent
and works from her home teaching music, including violin and piano. Shelleys
parents are divorced, and her father resides with his second wife here in the
same town as Shelley. Shelley states that she sees her father once a week for
lunch and has a good relationship with him. Shelley is an attractive, 30-year-
old woman with naturally blond wavy hair. She is left-hand dominant, which, as
she puts it, I now think from the right side of my mind. She is outgoing,
congenial, and was eager to participate in this interview. She has many friends
and family members who provide ongoing support and inspiration for her.
Shelley explains that all people who become brain injured should have a pet,
especially a dog, to provide companionship and help expedite healing. Her
dog Milli has had three litters totaling 16 puppies with her mate Oscar Meyer.
Shelley also enjoys and collects unicorns and she explains that this is one of
her signature marks.
Shelley works teaching violin and piano to children. She began playing
the violin at 18 months of age and the piano at 5 years of age under the
tutelage of her mother. She remained involved in music throughout her youth


2
trained accordingly, providing guidelines and expectations for patients and
families. Should clients decide upon goals that do not fit the philosophies
and theories endorsed by the treatment paradigm, the patient is viewed as
noncompliant, unaware, or in denial (Hill, 1999). As such, competing realities
exist. One reality is that of the survivors who are recipients of and experts on
the transpired trauma, as they experienced everything first-hand. The polar
reality is that of the observers (Crisp, 1993; Wright, 1983; Yuker, 1994). The
observers are all others including family and rehabilitation treatment providers
as they experienced second-hand the sequella of the imposed tragedy or
accident (Crisp, 1993; Wright, 1983).
The shock of trauma, sudden illness, or accident affects survivors in
such a way that they need the help of observers such as rescue and medical
professionals in order to survive the acute stages (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). At
this point, survivors or observers of the accident communicate their version of
events. As helping professionals acquire this information, they begin forming a
reality of what happened to the victims in order to assess, diagnose, and
deliver services deemed appropriate for the survivor (Rubin & Roessler, 1995).
Millions of individuals acquire various illnesses and disabilities every
year according to Social Security Administration (19998) statistics. These
millions of individuals have their personal developments disrupted by the
acquired illness and disability. They are forced to incorporate into their
inevitably continuing development the impact of their new disabilities in
accordance with financial constraints imposed by funding sources such as


191
Being that several paradoxes that have been presented, the process of
adjustment can be viewed as a socially occurring phenomenon depicted by
developmental and social models within a multi-dimensional, circular model
such as in the Psychosocial Model of Adaptation to Disability by Livneh and
Antonak (1997). This model depicts the interactions of past and present
cognitive, emotional, and behavioral external and internal variables interacting
over time.
In viewing the experiences of the participants through this perspective,
the expectations of practitioners and survivors can both be accounted for and
possible served. Hill (1999) a rehabilitation researcher in New South Wales
and a survivor of traumatic brain injury emphasized the need for brain injury
treatment to be contextual. Rehabilitation treatment that expects cognitive,
emotional, or physical function to be restored is inappropriate as individuals
with traumatic brain injury may be forever changed (Crisp, 1994; Hill, 1999).
The process of habilitating during rehabilitation then could be an exciting
process for survivors and rehabilitation staff to work together to develop new
pathways or maps that meets the contextual needs and expectations of each
individual survivor.
To suggest that one particular paradigm may defeat the purpose of
developing contextual goals. New neuropsychological research supports the
idea of the need for brain injury rehabilitation to be relevant and contextual to
each survivor. Ingles and Park have collaborated their research endeavors
after Ingles discovered that survivors were successful in completing cognitive


to earlier stages of development and need to perhaps repeat the learning
processes inherent in those earlier stages.
187
Erikson introduced his developmental perspective over the life span. In
review, he introduced nine stages in which individuals must learn to
accomplish a given task before being able to proceed with addressing the
tasks in subsequent stages. For instance, in the first stage is basic mistrust
versus trust, the infant and caregiver establish whether the world is trustworthy
as the infants needs are met (Erikson, 1982, 1997). The value to be attained
in this stage is hope (Erikson, 1982, 1997).
In the second stage, shame and doubt versus autonomy, during which
the child attempts to master tasks and assert will. The value to be attained at
the second stage is will (Erikson, 1982, 1997). The third stage is guilt versus
initiative is when toddlers attempt to master control of their bodies and the
world around them. The value to be attained in the third stage is a sense of
purpose (Erikson, 1982, 1997). The value to be attained in the fourth stage is
competence. In this stage, industry versus inferiority, children learn about
themselves as workers related to schoolwork and tasks. In the fifth stage,
identity confusion versus identity encompass adolescent aged youth who are
trying to explore the boundaries of themselves in relation to society (Erikson,
1982, 1997).
The sixth stage is isolation versus intimacy, during which young adults
make commitments to identity and now seek relationships characterized by
reciprocal love and devotion. The value to be attained in this sixth stage is to


155
and Antonaks (1997) conceptual model of adaptation to disability states that
humans experience certain universal emotional reactions to trauma and
illness when adventitious disabilities occur. These reactions include shock,
anxiety, denial, depression, internalized anger, externalized hostility,
acknowledgement, and adjustment (Livneh & Antonak, 1997) (Appendix F).
Studies reveal that no particular sequence or required phases that
individuals must pass through after trauma or disability occurs, but rather that
these or a combination of these phases may be present (Livneh & Antonak,
1997). Further, Livneh and Antonak (1991) maintained that reactions to
disability are nonlinear, multi-dimensional, and hierarchical after results of
phase ordering included maladaptive reactions blended in with the
hypothesized order of adaptive reactions. In their study, Livneh and Antonak
found relationships among the variables that varied with time such as anxiety
and depression having different intensities for individuals after time passed
(Livneh & Antonak, 1991). Assumptions are also made, such as that
permanent, significant changes and psychological dissonance must be
experienced, and that the phases do not occur in sequence or in isolation of
other phases (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
Adjustment is considered the last stage of adaptation, whereas
adaptation is the continuous evolvement through which an individual with
acquired illness or disability achieves maximal independence within the
environment (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). Adjustment connotes acceptance of
disability and integration of pre-injury and post-injury psychological


98
dressed casually and warmly, as the weather was cold and he had been
working outside at his job as a maintenance and custodial engineer at a
nearby hotel. Bernie wore his blondish hair medium to short length. He
presented himself as socially appropriate, slightly reserved, and very
congenial. Bernie indicated that he is the middle son of three sons and
described himself as having been the black sheep of the family before his
accident. He laughingly states that it is because he is the only one with blond
hair. His brothers both have dark hair and complexions.
Bernie graduated from high school with average grades and he
participated in wrestling and surfing. He believes that his participation in
organized sports helped him to learn to win and overcome adversity. He states
that surfing has helped him to stay in good shape over the years and has
helped him to regain his physical abilities after his injury. He states that the
drawback to being a surfer is that surfers have the image of being bums and
druggies. He feels that he has been labeled as such by law enforcement.
The doctors told me that it was a good thing that I surfed cause that was why I
was in such good shape and thats what helped me pull out of the coma, he
explains.
Bernie enjoys watching all sports and is a big fan of the Oakland
Raiders football team. He keeps a poem written by one of the Raiders about
inspiration by his bedside for motivation.
Bernie enjoys biking and surfing for exercise. Before his accident on
April 4, 1989, Bernie had spent a month in Hawaii surfing. Before this, he


161
The Empowerment Rehabilitation Model (Appendix G) (OHara & Harrell,
1991) is unique in that it is not sequential or linear, so that clients may enter
treatment at any point after becoming injured. Psychotherapeutic interventions
are emphasized in order to facilitate emotional adjustment, mastery of cognitive
skills, and social skills. The Empowerment Models guiding principle
maintains that cognitive, emotional, physical, and interpersonal foundational
domains re-assimilate at rates chosen by the clients in order to move victims to
survivors (OHara & Harrell, 1991).
The external structure of the model contains the variables in the
immediate environment of the survivors. These variables may be fixed
including family, finances, living facilities, or transportation, but also include
implementing additional structure for the survivors in order to assist them with
survival until they can manage structure for themselves.
Motivation is implemented and managed in the environment through
appropriate reinforcers, setting reasonable goals, and development of a
therapeutic relationship. In developing motivation, the survivors adopt a sense
of purpose and commitment to reach goals.
In order to fully accept and adjust to their injury, the survivors must be
given information about their injuries through discussion and literature. This
leads to creating a better understanding of how the brain injury has caused
changes and is the only way that reasonable goals and expectations may be
set and achieved.


123
Losses. Teresa Lynn lost both of her grandmothers in 1998. Her
mother also contracted cancer that same year. Teresa Lynn postponed her
plans to enter the military and begin college to help her mother. Later in 1998,
she was in the accident that left her with multiple injuries and a traumatic brain
injury.
Emotional phases of adjustment. Teresa Lynn described having
experienced several prominent emotions during the course of her recovery.
She states that she felt jealousy and anger at certain points because she
observed other patients and now students who do not have to work as hard as
she does. She also experienced grief and sadness for her losses and lost
time.
Starting life over/rebirth. This participant expressed feeling of frustration
and disgust about having to learn how to walk, talk, feel, think, and toilet train all
over again. She described feeling stupid because she knew she once knew
the things she was repeating; she felt that having to go through this as an adult
was humiliating at times.
Things rehabilitation should change. Teresa Lynn discussed several
things that she did not like about her rehabilitation. She states that she did not
like the minimal interactions with her doctor. She states that she saw him only
twice in a 6-week period at the rehabilitation hospital. She also advised that
the rehabilitation team should attempt to make the goals relevant to her. She
felt that she was expected to adhere to goals that were standardized for the
majority population in the hospital most of whom were senior citizens or middle


112
resolving his physical problems resulting from his damaged pituitary gland.
Therefore, it took him 8 years to find the solution on his own.
Lex explains that after he awoke from his coma, he was transferred to a
rehabilitation hospital. He indicated that he had ongoing problems with his
rehabilitation team and doctors, he states, because they kept trying to pin me
down and force me to do things the way they wanted it done. He states that he
had always had problems with authority and that this had not changed after the
brain injury. Lex also described having conflict with the head administrator
because the head administrator kept confronting him about not complying with
the rehabilitation program. Lex commented, It is just not smart to be
confrontational with a person with a brain injury, especially when it should be
evident that the person with a traumatic brain injury is not able to understand
another point of view just yet. After spending a year in the rehabilitation
program, his parents checked him out of the hospital and took him back home
in Central America.
There he spent 1 year working as a teachers aid in an elementary
school. He spent additional time working in a veterinary clinic and doing
volunteer activities. In 1995, his younger brother decided to attend a university
in Florida after not liking the university he had been attending. He wanted to
bring Lex with him and help him get back into school and the swing of things.
Lexs parents consented and Lex then moved with his brother to Florida. He
tried some classes, but things did not work out at that point.


134
Starting life over/rebirth. Taz describes having had to learn to walk, talk,
think, and feel again has been frustrating, but inevitable. He feels that he has
been given a new chance to live life better and that is now his intention. I tell
you, some of the stuff they had me doing, just didnt make no sense, he states.
But Ill tell you one thing, they did teach me to focus better and to remember
what was important.
Things rehabilitation should change. Taz describes several things that
he was dissatisfied with regarding his rehabilitation. He states that the
rehabilitation team used cookie cutter exercises for everyone there. He felt
that the exercises, physical and cognitive, should have been more germane to
his cognitive and emotional needs. Further, he felt that the rehabilitation team
ignored his preferences. For instance, he states that the team included his ex-
wife despite his protests. He states that he informed his rehabilitation helpers
regularly that he did not want to include her in rehabilitation treatment planning.
He also wanted to be more of a part of planning and carrying out his
rehabilitation. He did not like having a group of people and a doctor that he
barely knew planning how his life was to be spent.
Positive things about rehabilitation. Taz states that the only thing that
rehabilitation helped him with was to focus better on his goals. He states that
overall it did not help him, as his rehabilitation team viewed him as rebellious
and noncompliant when his ideas were different than theirs. According to Taz,
They should stop and listen because there were things that they wanted me to
do and say that had nothing to do with me anymore. The things that were


125
Teresa Lynn also felt inspired after hearing and remembering the
discussions that she had while she was in a coma. Teresa Lynns mother
stayed with her in her hospital room 24 hours a day. Evidently, Teresa Lynn
talked in her sleep while she was in a coma. It appeared that Teresa Lynn
was having discussions with angels as well as the individual whom she
crashed into on the day of her accident. Teresa Lynn had never met the
individual that she wrecked with. While in a coma, however, she knew the
name of the individual and learned details about him and his family. Strange
as it sounds, I knew that he was worried about his wife and other family
members. I also knew what he looked like, she said. I was looking forward
to meeting him in person and sort of picking up where we left off. ... I found out
six months later that he died the day of the accident, she explained. She
stated that she was very upset that he died, but knows that he is in a good
place, now.
Bernie
Bernie is a 38-year-old divorced male who lives on the east coast of
Central Florida. He originally is from Ohio and moved to Florida as a pre
adolescent. In high school he learned to wrestle and surf and attributes his
drive to succeed and overcome obstacles to having participated in these
sports. He works as a maintenance engineer at a nearby hotel and enjoys his
work. He has a good work ethic and puts in additional hours as much as
possible. He bought his house near the beach approximately 5 years ago and
pays his mortgage, child support, and bills using his salary. He enjoys surfing


CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
In order to explore adjustment to traumatic brain injury from the survivors
perspective, it is important to have an understanding of the pertinent literature.
A review of the literature is presented, describing adjustment issues relevant to
disability, rehabilitation, and traumatic brain injury as follows: (1) disability, (2)
theories of psychosocial adjustment to disability, (3) rehabilitation, (4) policies
and legislation regarding people with disabilities, (5) traumatic brain injury, and
(6) models of adjustment to traumatic brain injury.
Disability
Disability Defined
A disability is a congenital or acquired physical, mental, or emotional
condition that detours the achievement of daily objectives (Rubin & Roessler,
1995). Congenital disabilities are those conditions that are present at birth
such as mental retardation or physical deformities. Acquired disabilities are
those that are incurred through illness or accident, sometime throughout the
lifespan. Since disabilities and handicaps are not synonymous, disability is
distinguished from a handicap. A disability is a limitation of functioning on
some level of organ or body system but does not obstruct task
accomplishments such as activities of daily living. With a disability, the manner
12


97
physical therapy assistant. I prayed to the Lord for a reason to go on once
when I was feeling down and the thought of becoming a physical therapy
assistant just hit me, she relates. This is when Teresa Lynn decided to enroll
in her local community college and pursue this as a goal.
There are other changes that Teresa Lynn has experienced. She states
that she is nicer now and is more apt and willing to interact with others. She
also is more inclined to go to her room when she gets home and focus on her
schoolwork, whereas before, she would stay outside more with her dad. In
addition, she used to be good at mathematics and not at English. She claims
that these have now flip-flopped for her. She is now better at English and
struggles in mathematics.
Teresa Lynn indicates that the hardest thing has been to keep pushing
herself and persevering. A final source of support and inspiration for her has
been her family, church, and realizing that she had many more friends than she
thought she did. She explained that she did not think she had many friends but
learned differently upon receiving so many notes and cards throughout her
ordeal. Maybe of the blessings is learning that a lot of people really care and I
hope I can do the same for others someday, she explains.
Case Study 2: Bernie
Upon arriving at Bernies house, a pickup truck with two flat tires sat in
the driveway. The front porch was dressed with wet suits and two or three surf
boards, one of them broken. Bernies house was located approximately a
block and a half from the Atlantic coast beach in central Florida. He was


176
teams and planning to address their specific needs and preferences relevant
to their own individual adjustment and goals. Four out of five of the participants
indicated disappointment and anger with rehabilitation for limiting and
confining them to goals that they felt were either not relevant to them or were
not wanted by them.
Review of Comparison and Contrast of Constructs and Models
The derived constructs from the data transcripts of five semi-structured
interviews were compared and contrasted with the constructs of three disability
and traumatic brain injury models relevant to adjustment. These models
included the Psychosocial Model of Adaptation to Disability (Livneh & Antonak,
1997), the Empowerment Model of Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation
(OHara & Harrell, 1990), and the Holistic Model Neuropsychological
Rehabilitation (Prigatano, 1999). These three models were chosen because
they represent three different approaches to rehabilitation and they all
appeared to contain elements of empowerment and phenomenology.
The Psychosocial Model of Adaptation to Disability is a multi
dimensional, nonlinear model that incorporates four classes of variables that
depict the interchange between the environment, the survivor, and the acquired
injury. The theory contains elements derived from stage theories and social
learning theory. The Empowerment Model of Traumatic Brain Injury was
chosen because it represents a constellation of constructs that are reduced to
or equal empowerment. The constructs such as Acceptance and Skills
attempt encapsulate emotional and cognitive variables that need to be


APPENDIX H
THEMES AND CATEGORIES OF PARTICIPANTS


13
in which the task is normally accomplished may change, but the task is still
achieved (Rubin & Roessler, 1995; Wright, 1983). Conversely, a handicap is
an environmental obstruction that prevents normal accomplishment of
vocational, social, educational, or recreational objectives (Gilson & Depoy,
2000; Rubin & Roessler, 1995; Wright, 1983).
Olkin (1999) stated that a wide variety of different types of disabilities
exists and can be viewed in terms of severity on a scale from least severe to
most severe. For example, nearsightedness may fall on the least severe, left
side of the scale while traumatic brain injury falls toward the more severe right
side of the scale. Separately, disability can be observed in terms of a health
continuum according to Olkin (1999). On the left end, less severe illnesses
occur such as colds and other minor ailments. Toward the right end of the
scale are those illnesses that are life threatening such as Duchenne muscular
dystrophy because this disease affects involuntary muscles such as the lungs
or heart (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). It is possible to have a serious disability
and yet be extremely healthy. For instance, people with mental retardation,
cerebral palsy, or amputees may exhibit excellent health, while others with
serious disabilities may exhibit debilitating secondary symptoms (Olkin, 1999).
Secondary symptoms or illnesses are conditions caused not by the disability
itself but rather by the results of the disability. For instance, muscular
dystrophy, comas, and spinal chord injuries, among others, cause limited
mobility that leads to a variety of potential death-causing illnesses such as
debulcutis ulcers, pneumonia, and urinary track infections. Generally, however,


37
Ego Identity Developmental Theories
Erikson. Adjustment may be viewed through the developmental theories
of Erikson and Marcia upon acquiring a disability or chronic illness. Individuals
are forced to incorporate the changes brought on by the disability cognitively,
emotionally, and socially, thereby affecting the developmental process. Erik
Erikson (1963) first developed the concept of ego identity development,
believing that individuals pass through a series of stages with developmental
tasks to be accomplished in each stage. His conceptualization of how identity
forms includes a tripartite relationship among biological, psychological, and
societal processes that he developed in response to Freuds psychosexual,
developmental stages (Kroger, 1993, pp. 1-20). Erikson saw Freuds
psychosexual stages of development as limiting in that Freud focused more on
processes that happened within the individual with little emphasis upon the
reciprocal relationship between the person and environment.
Therefore, Erikson proposed a developmental model of identity d
purporting that individuals are given a set of tasks to achieve in eight
developmental stages that encompass the life span (Kroger, 1993, pp. 1-20). If
individuals accomplish the tasks within each developmental stage, then
positive attitudes toward the self and environment develop. If individuals fail to
accomplish the tasks in each stage, then potentially debilitating beliefs toward
the self and environment develop (Kroger, 1993, pp. 1-20). Last, in each stage,
the potential exists for achieving certain values by striving for positive resolution
between polar attitudes. For instance, the first stage is basic mistrust versus


80
Problem
Extensive literature in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation examined the
perceptions of rehabilitation professionals and family members of survivors of
traumatic brain injury (Crisp, 1993). Beatrice Wright (1983) called these above-
named support individuals outsiders because they were not the actual victims
of injury or illness, but rather the observers and helpers of individuals who
survive such tragedies (Wright, 1983). The survivors of injury or illness are the
insiders because they possess the expertise of what it is like to incur these
disabilities (Wright, 1983). Numerous quantitative studies addressed the
effectiveness of rehabilitation strategies for this population, relying upon
methodologies that answer null hypotheses with deductive statistical
measures, generalizing the results to a larger sample of the population (Crisp,
1994; Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). The bulk of such studies report variables given
from the perspectives of outsiders, rather than from the experts or insiders
(Hill, 1999).
Several problems exist when applying quantitative statistical measures
to determine effectiveness of rehabilitation treatment modalities. The effects of
having incurred a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are not the same for each
individual with TBI. Traumatic brain injury is defined as nonpenetrating trauma
inflicted to the cranium by being hit, shaken, or acceleration and deceleration
impact (Noble et al., 1990). Because the brain is surrounded by fluid encased
in the skull, blunt trauma causes a ricochet effect against the inside of the skull
known as coup-contra coup (Krauss & McArthur, 1999; Prigatano, 1999).


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Robert R. Sherman
Professor of Foundations of Education
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of
Education and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
August 2001
Dean, College of Education
Dean, Gradate School


27
may need additional attention from rehabilitation staff and family to insure
individual safety.
Personal characteristics such as self-concept, gender, and values
inherently affect perceptions and adjustment to incurred disability (Livenh &
Antonak, 1997). Self-concept refers to how one sees oneself (Livneh, 1997;
Schlossberg, 1981; Wright, 1983; Vash, 1981). Self-concept formation begins
early in life and forms by integrating self -knowledge gained by assimilating
feedback from the environment with sensory experience and cognition.
Influenced by developmental and social learning theories, Wright (1983)
described the formation of self-concept and self-esteem as an integrative
process that continually evolves, influenced by the individual perceptions of self
and feedback from the environment. These characteristics comprise what
Wright (1983) described as the inside perspective. The effect of having been
traumatized is then affected greatly by the insider perspectives or perceived
control over the situation (Wright, 1983). Locus of control refers to how
individuals perceive their sense of control of and in the world (Rotter, 1971). An
individual with a high external locus of control believes that fate and the
environment control circumstances, which connotes that the individual is a
victim of the environment. An individual with a high internal locus of control
believes that the ability to control circumstances lies within the self (Livneh &
Antonak, 1997). The personal philosophy that the individual adopts tends to
affect adaptation to disability significantly, according to research (Livneh &
Antonak, 1997; Wright, 1983).


92
mother help transport her. She is currently driving herself to and from school
with mild intimidation in heavy traffic. She talks to herself to help keep calm in
tense situations, Sometimes I pray and sometimes I sing to keep calm while
driving.
Teresa Lynn is a warm and congenial person who prefers to interact
socially in small groups with a few people at a time. She explains that the
majority of her school years were spent in north-central Florida, but her
seventh-grade year was in Nevada and her eighth- and ninth-grade years were
in Colorado. Teresa Lynn enjoyed fun times in Colorado, recalling times when
she and her brother would ride with her father in their pickup truck to the
mountains. Her father would shovel snow into the back of the pickup truck and
take it back to their house in the valley. There, he unloaded the snow where
she and the other kids in her neighborhood would play until it melted. Teresa
Lynn made good grades in school but states that she had to work at it. She
explains that she strived to get good grades and put fun second. She was
once an avid and talented photographer, having won various awards. She also
had a passion for clog dancing, enjoying traveling and doing shows with her
partners. For fun, she and her family ride four-wheelers, fish, and camp
whenever they can find the time. She states that she did not really date much in
high school and did not have a large network of friends, preferring to socialize
with her family and church.
Teresa Lynns plans when she was in high school were to go into the
military and pursue a career as a registered nurse. She graduated in 1997


101
In the rehabilitation hospital, Bernie participated in various therapies
such as speech pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling,
and recreation. As part of his program, he was put in the kitchen so that he
could get back to cooking and he was also put in an apartment so that he could
relearn how to live independently. He relearned how to spell, write, read, do
mathematics, walk, and talk again. At times, he states that he felt stupid about
having to relearn everything all over again. Overall, though, he feels that his
rehabilitation team was extremely caring and helped him a great deal. Bernie
states that he would not change anything about his rehabilitation; he would not
change a thing. He thought they did a great job with him and listened to what
his goals and needs were. He states that his only frustration was that, at the
time, he wanted to be closer to his pregnant wife and the ocean.
Bernie graduated from culinary school in 1994 with honors. His
employer paid for his school as long as he could keep his grades up.
Unfortunately, in 1995, his employer refused to allow him to advance from
dishwasher to cook again, so he left this job. He enjoys his position at a
nearby lodge as primary maintenance and custodial engineer. His employer
works with Bernie, allowing him to take time off for medical appointment when
needed. He currently goes to a cognitive speech therapist and his regular
medical doctor. He also attends support groups and used to see a
chiropractor for his back problem. He says he still has problems with
schedules and keeping things organized, but his close friends and family help
him when needed. He has made great efforts to settle down and have better


81
Trauma results in the brain being injured, not only at the point of impact, but
also where the brain is thrust against the inside wall of the cranium (Prigatano,
1999). Further, head position, age of onset, body position, and the force of
impact are all variables determining how the brain ricochets inside the cranium
(Krefting, 1990; Prigatano, 1999). Therefore, individuals with TBI may share the
same diagnosis but may have very different symptoms with different cognitive
domains affected (Prigatano, 1999). Generalizing results of a quantitative study
to members of the traumatic brain-injured population imposes suppositions
that may not apply to all members.
A second problem with the blanket diagnosis of traumatic brain injury
(TBI) is that incongruent perceptions of the symptoms may exist between
survivors and their caregivers. Caregivers are able to depict what it is like to
live with TBI survivors, and rehabilitation professionals can describe what it is
like to treat a person with TBI. Only those with TBI are able to portray accurately
what it is like to incur and adjust to life with TBI and its symptoms. Gaps
between perceptions may lead to erroneous assumptions. For instance,
because foundational domains such as cognition and personality can be
affected, rehabilitation professionals run the risk of evaluating a client with TBI
to be lacking judgment (Crisp, 1994; Prigatano, 1999). Consequently, this
assumption makes the goals of the client prone to dismissal by the
rehabilitation treatment team, resulting in an ethical conflict (Crisp, 1994;
Krefting, 1990; Prigatano, 1999).


99
attended culinary school to become a chef. He was working at a hotel as first
cook and was planning to apply to be chef. Bernie described his accident
occurred while he was traveling through an intersection on a motorcycle with
his wife on the back, when an elderly lady ran a red light. In order to avoid
hitting her, he laid his bike down causing his injuries. He was transported to
the hospital by helicopter. He received a traumatic brain injury despite wearing
a helmet and also shattered his right wrist and broke his jaw and front teeth.
His lower back also was knocked out of alignment. He was in a coma for 6
weeks and was in therapy for 9 months.
Bernies wife separated from him and filed for divorce while he was in
the rehabilitation hospital and divorced him in 1991. He was required to pay
child support, which he was happy to do once he learned through paternity
testing that he was the father of the child she was pregnant with at the time.
Evidently, his wife had an extramarital affair before their divorce, and there was
a question as to which of her partners his son belonged (though Bernie
suspected that he was his child). Bernie is very proud of his son and wishes
that he could spend more time than he does with him.
Bernie expresses frustration and regret that he does not have rights as a
parent. He lost his parental rights in 1997 because of being deemed
incompetent by family courts because of his brain injury. His ex-wife argued
that he is incapable of exercising good judgment because of his injury. Bernie
states that he feels this is unfair because prior to this ruling he took care of his
son for an entire summer and fall while she was in Las Vegas with her


166
restored or compensated to best facilitate adjustment. He emphasized that
cognitive remediation and psychotherapy best address the deficits and provide
avenues for survivors to compensate for or recover their lost skills. He
suggested several components that help to achieve this adjustment such as
the development of a therapeutic atmosphere and bond between treating
therapist teams and client, cognitive retraining, small-group cognitive retraining
hour, cognitive group therapy, individualized cognitive retraining, psychotherapy,
family involvement and education, and the protected work trial.
Survivors are able to maximize therapeutic goal attainment in the
presence of a well-developed therapeutic atmosphere. In addition, the
rehabilitation team should endeavor to understand the perspectives of clients
phenomenologically (Prigatano, 1999). Prigatano also suggested cognitive
remediation and retraining in order to address confusion and frustration,
emotional variables he states are common to this disability group.
Group and individual treatment are additional therapeutic modalities
implemented to help restore and restructure cognitive functioning (Prigatano,
1999). He introduced small-group cognitive therapy hour as another means of
implementing this concept, yet in a short, concise time frame that is germane
to client interests (Prigatano, 1999). Family education informs and supports
the immediate support systems so that both the survivors and their families
may learn and incorporate strategies to optimize adjustment. Last, supported
return-to-work programs are introduced to enhance the transition in returning to
and maintaining work (Prigatano, 1999).


42
the client or guide the client along traditional or well-travelecf treatment plans,
thereby limiting client input and possible potential (Purtilo, 1991). Having a
rehabilitation team supposedly allows a system of checks and balances that
function to prevent diversions from the standards of benefiance (Purtilo,
1991). Unforeseen dynamics may influence the group such as reliance upon a
set of prescribed treatments, instead of individualizing the treatment plan. In
other words, rehabilitation professionals are prone to fall into a treatment rut
and are uncomfortable with deviations despite the fact that every client is
different. For instance, with traumatic brain injuries, assumptions that the client
lacks understanding or awareness may occur, prompting a professional to
make recommendations accordingly. Though the client may have experienced
deficits, awareness and judgment may be intact. In such instances, the
professionals believed to be acting in the best welfare of patients may be
inadvertently limiting client potentials (Purtilo, 1991).
Another negative phenomenon known to occur is for the team to cover
for or go along with the weakness of a member or members of the team
(Purtilo, 1991). At this point, agendas other than facilitating clients toward their
goals are being served. Second, team members may become biased as a
consequence of either liking or disliking a patient (Purtilo, 1991). A premise of
paternalism maintains that paternalism is justifiable when it fosters patient
dignity and potential (Morrison, 1991; Purtilo, 1991). Such objectives assist
rehabilitation professionals in adhering to values existing in the autonomy-
beneficience team approach (Purtilo, 1991).


65
interviews and symptom checklists from family members, rehabilitation
providers, and sometimes consumers (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Antonak,
Livneh, & Antonak, 1993; Bergland & Thomas, 1991). Prigatano and
associates conducted a search from 1985 through 1995 of research that
looked for research titles that reflected brain dysfunction concurrently with the
constructs of frustration and confusion. Out of 7,600 articles found involving
traumatic brain injury, only 14 reflected these or similar emotions (Prigatano,
1999). One ethnographic study of 21 moderately injured survivors of closed
head injury notes the loss of identity and sense of self that were determined
through semi-structured interviews and observations and the coping
mechanisms the survivors used to redefine their new identities (Krefting,
1989). Another qualitative study examined and interpreted the themes that
emerged in terms of personality types that represent different levels of having
coped with and adjusted to the changes incurred after traumatic brain injury
(Crisp, 2000). Examining these changes qualitatively is, perhaps, the most
valid method for facilitating the process of discovering a new self (Hill, 1999;
Prigatano, 1999).
One of the most challenging aspects for helping professionals in
working with brain-injured populations is to determine whether or not their
clients judgment is clear. In working with populations with disabilities and
brain-injured populations, sometimes clients set unrealistic goals for
themselves after a disability is incurred. Clients either experience a lack of
understanding of the extent of acquired disabilities or they are experiencing


70
This model embraces goals for the rehabilitation team and survivors of
traumatic brain injury in order to achieve empowerment, instilling belief in
another individuals ability to succeed. These goals include enhancing
motivation, enabling clients with information about their injury, providing
structure until the clients are able to do so on their own, teaching skills and
strategies to compensate for losses, and facilitating acceptance of differences
before injury and after injury (OHara & Harrell, 1991). The underlying premise
of this model is that facilitation of the above-mentioned goals leads to an
enhanced internal structure and motivation equated with empowerment for
individuals with incurred traumatic brain injury. The model is presented
nonhierarchically as EXTERNAL STRUCTURE + MOTIVATION + INFORMATION
+ ACCEPTANCE + SKILLS = EMPOWERMENT (OHara & Harrell, 1991). No
component can be eliminated or dismissed, or the goal of empowerment is
unlikely to be achieved.
Holistic Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Program
George Prigatano, a practitioner and researcher in brain injury
rehabilitation, stated that in order to facilitate clients from post-acute stages of
traumatic brain injury through adjustment and reintegration with oneself and
society, awareness and judgment need to be restored or compensated
(Prigatano, 1995, 1999). He emphasized that cognitive remediation and
restructuring, along with psychotherapy be implemented in order to enhance
adjustment to traumatic brain injury. He proposed several components for a
Holistic Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Program as development of a


132
accident. He blames no one but himself and his own stupidity. He states that
by accepting responsibility he has been better able to focus on reaching his
goals and avoid feeling victimized by the accident or what caused it. Why
should I waste a lot of time on being mad, when it was my own stupidity that
caused the accident?
Post accident. Taz describes having experienced several changes as a
result of his accident. Before his accident, he was a rowdy life of the party guy
who would think nothing about singing for crowds after having a beer or two.
He was also prone to fighting and brawling in bars. I used to wind up in some
hellacious fights with the biggest son-of-a-bitches in the bar, he explains. He
now refrains from fighting and limits his alcohol intake to an occasional glass
of wine on special occasions. He refrains from alcohol because it could affect
his medication that he feels has really helped him. First of all, I dont want to
mess up my medication, because I enjoy being nice to people, according to
Taz. But I also hate feeling out of control, now. I dont want to be that way
again.
He also states that he prefers interacting with just a few people now
whereas before he preferred crowds. He explains that he likes to focus on just
one person, whereas before he did not care to get to know individuals as
deeply. He also explains that he is less impulsive with money than he was,
but he admits he still will spend it if he has it. He is more inclined to think
through how he will spend it now as opposed to before when he would just
spend it.


and surroundings connotes a condition known as anosognosia (McKinlay &
Watkiss, 1999).
10
Summary
This study explored problems that arise in adjusting to traumatic brain
injury for the individuals who incur them. A traumatic brain injury results in
acute and permanent neurological damage to the central nervous system
affecting foundational domains such as personality, cognition, and emotion
(Krauss & McArthur, 1999). Medical and rehabilitation efforts collaborate in
order to assist individuals who acquire traumatic brain injury to recover and
compensate for deficits in order to return to an optimal state of independent
functioning. As Hill (1999) pointed out, however, it is unreasonable to expect
someone whose personality or emotions have changed to return to a previous
state. Further, patients with traumatic brain injury can be easily dismissed as
being unaware, in denial, or noncompliant should they choose goals aside
from those recommended by rehabilitation professionals. This study
examined these problems by inquiring how actual survivors of traumatic brain
injury perceive and pursue adjustment. Interviews were conducted with
survivors from which case studies were developed along with an analysis of
derived themes and constructs. The uncovered themes and constructs then
were compared with existing brain injury rehabilitation paradigms.
In doing so, several assumptions were made. One assumption was
that individuals who acquire traumatic brain injury adopt an adjustment
process. Second, participants in this study were survivors of traumatic brain


6
optimal functioning (Prigatano, 1999). Learning what adaptation means within
the context of individual situations and then to try to understand the
complexities of human behavior must occur phenomenologically. Practitioners
must incorporate a whole, qualitative understanding of client problems in the
client environment or context in order to optimally facilitate clients toward
reasonable goals.
Therefore, the problem is that current positivist, medicine, and
rehabilitation philosophies fail to explain how and why people with traumatic
brain injury exceed prognoses and predictions made with nominal measures
and scales. Also unexplained adequately are the numbers of patients deemed
unaware or naive because they do not comply with recommended treatments.
This presents the possibility that said rehabilitation philosophies are not
adapted to allow for these variances to fall within normal realms. Rather, such
individuals are labeled as anomalies, unaware, or in denial of their
circumstances. To explore this phenomenon quantitatively would explain
matters only in terms of quantity and would not answer the questions of how
and why individuals with severe traumatic brain injuries at times exceed
expectations and prognoses or do not comply. Such questions can be
answered only by exploring the constructs offered by the actual survivor of
traumatic brain injury. In doing so, problems imposed by rehabilitation
programs implementing prescriptive goals upon clients in addition to the
problems of client awareness, denial, and naivet are likely to be addressed.


185
disabled. In this sense the rehabilitation staff and the client are equal entities
within the same context or environment. The interactions between the two
continuously and reciprocally affect each other. As such rehabilitation staff
cannot help but influence the adjustment process with the training that afforded
them the opportunity to work with the individual with a brain injury or other
disability.
However, rehabilitation ethics and philosophies also endorse
treatments from a humanist philosophy that believes that individuals inherently
possess the answers to problems and conflicts. Adhering to this philosophy,
rehabilitation professionals are merely facilitators of goals that clients have
developed. From this perspective come concepts such as empowerment and
efficacy. Empowerment and efficacy techniques encourage and nourish the
processes involved in achieving goals that the clients believe that are able to
reach. The participants in this study wanted their goals to be respected,
recognized, and facilitated by rehabilitation staff. However, it is not possible for
true and pure empowerment and efficacy to occur phenomenologically
because of the influence exerted by the training that professionals implement
during practice. Therefore, Prigatanos (1999) Holistic Model of
Neuropsychological Rehabilitation that encourages building a therapeutically
warm, phenomenological relationship would not accommodate the
participants in this study without some level of conflict. In addition this is the
more linear model of the three examined in this research adhering primarily to
cognitive-behavioral paradigms. The Empowerment Model by OHara and


69
including gender, ethnicity, developmental stage, education, marital status, and
job title. Personality attributes make up Class III variables and include values,
self-image, premorbid psychosocial adaptation, attitudes, locus of control, and
defense mechanisms. Class IV variables include socio-environmental factors
such as home environment, social groups, friends, and attitudinal barriers
imposed upon the client (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
These four classes of variables impact each stage of progression while
adjusting and adapting to disability. These stages of progression include an
early stage that involves shock, anxiety, and denial of the trauma. Intermediate
states focus upon steps toward acceptance of the incurred trauma and include
anger and depression. The later stages move the survivor acceptance and
adjustment. A circular sequence accounts for different reactions and decisions
regarding the trauma at any given point during the process eliminating the
model from being a linear stage model entirely (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
Empowerment Model
The Empowerment Rehabilitation Model (Appendix G) (OHara & Harrell,
1991) is unique in that a brain-injured individual may enter treatment at any
point after becoming injured. Psychotherapeutic intervention is emphasized in
order to enhance emotional adjustment, mastery of cognitive skills, and social
skills. The Empowerment Models guiding principle maintains that all of the
foundational domains-cognitive, emotional, physical, and interpersonal-must
reintegrate at a rate chosen by the client in order to move victims to survivors
(OHara & Harrell, 1991).


145
from law school and getting married. She is able to reframe this anger to pity
but admits that she still feels angry at times. She also experiences grief for her
losses. She acknowledges and accepts the changes she has experienced
because they are her new reality. She sees no reason to deny them because
to do so will not serve her mission to provide hope and help others.
Starting life over/rebirth. Shelley described herself as being reborn in the
truest sense. After having to relearn to do everything including crawling,
walking, talking, thinking, and feeling again, what else can it be called, she
wondered aloud. She states that this was a humiliating process because she
could remember having to do it the first time, and she now had to relearn to do
it as an adult woman. I will run again one day, even if it takes me longer than it
did to walk again, she affirms.
Things rehabilitation should change. Shelley was dissatisfied overall
with her experiences and treatment in the rehabilitation hospital. She states
that her rehabilitation team caused her to feel worse about herself in several
ways. I call that program Downreach instead of Upreach because I felt worse
about myself there, according to her. I dont think they did a very good job in
boosting morale or giving inspiration, she related.
She thought that the goals decided upon for her were limiting and
confining. She wanted to focus on her emotional and social adjustment issues
and felt that her providers minimized and dismissed these issues. Specifically,
she wanted more social interaction and support with other patients and to
focus on her goals of one day marrying and having a family. She feels that


116
life. She is conducting these interviews because she is in the midst of writing a
book about her experiences.
Shelley states that God was really looking out for her throughout her
ordeal. Evidently, Shelley and her friend were in traffic in front of someone who
was a paramedic and was able to call the accident in immediately. As a result,
paramedics arrived within 5 minutes, and she was under the care of a
neurosurgeon within 15 minutes after impact. Shelleys injury was severe, as
she sustained a traumatic brain injury and a lacerated brain stem. She did die
and was revived. Initially, she was trapped in the car with the engine in her lap.
The paramedic who was working to intubate her stated in his interview that he
does not know nor can he explain how the engine moved off of her at the last
moment. He states, It was like the hands of God moved it. It did move,
however, and she was freed from the wreckage while having a seizure and
thenwas transported immediately to the hospital.
Shelley was in a coma for 3 months and 2 weeks. She remembers
dreams of flying and flying over her house again and again, but was unable to
land. She was later told that her niece would come and sing Come Fly With
Me while she was in a coma, and she wondered if this is why she dreamt of
flying. She also wondered if it were because of the medication given to her to
keep her sedated while her brain was healing, or if it was because as a child,
her grandmother, Oma, told her that while people dream, they fly with angels.
Shelley remembered her grandmother fondly and had great admiration for her.


149
that she feels that her purpose is to help and lead others through the
experiences of adjusting to traumatic brain injury. She states that before her
accident, this goal would not have occurred to her and would not have been as
meaningful. Another participant states that before his accident, he had volatile
temper that led to many altercations and fights. He states that during his coma
God told him that his accident had created changes to help keep him calmer
and that he needs to stop the fighting and focus more on his children.
Therefore, this participant interpreted his injury as a positive change that
allowed him to calm down and become a better father as well as having given
him a new purpose that did not occur to him before.
Another form of coping with the changes brought on by traumatic brain
injuries was reliance on a source of inspiration and motivation. Each of the
participants described people or inner strengths as resources that inspired
them to keep going despite adverse circumstances. One participant stated that
whenever she was in so much pain from her injuries that she thought she
could not go on, she would think of her father who persevered despite several
disabling accidents. Another participant used her grandmother as a source of
inner strength because her grandmother had survived the two World Wars in
Germany and had much wisdom to depart to her. Another participant used the
quarterback of the Oakland Raiders as a model of motivation and
perseverance and even saved a copy of a poem about winning against the
odds, written by one of the Raiders, to read from time to time. Last, all of the


62
cognitive, and neurobehavioral outcomes (Krauss & McArthur, 1999; McKinlay &
Watkiss, 1999). However, as cited in Kraus and McArthur (1999), Povlishock in
1992 and Maxwell in 1993 conducted studies that showed weak or no
relationship between level of coma and duration of amnesia with outcomes.
Use of the Glasgow Coma Scale (1974) as useful as it has been is
controversial in terms of validity as a predictive instrument (Antonak, Livneh, &
Antonak, 1993; Krauss & McArthur, 1999). Other researchers question the use
of such instruments, arguing that they are relevant only to the acute physical
symptoms. Abstract constructs that make up personality cannot be anticipated
or predicted accurately at the time of injury (Crisp, 1994; Hill, 1996). Further,
recalling that 56% of neurological injuries involve victims with positive levels of
blood alcohol consumption, inebriation confounds accurate categorization of
the Glasgow Coma Scale (Krauss & McArthur, 1999; Pentland & Whittle, 1999).
In addition, complications with oxygenation causing a condition known as
hypoxia also distort accurate measurements of the severity of injury (Pentland &
Whittle, 1999). Therefore, categorization of mild, moderate, and severe seem
only relevant within the context of acute medical phases and cannot be
wholeheartedly relied upon as accurate predictors of at least neurobehavioral
and psychosocial complications.
Changes After Traumatic Brain Iniurv
From the period of time immediately after injury through the first year of
recovery, complications in foundational domains such as personality, cognitive,
physical, and psychosocial aspects of individual with traumatic brain injury can


CHAPTER 4
CASE STUDIES AND CONSTRUCTS
There are few studies that examine the perspectives of adjustment and
rehabilitation from the viewpoint of actual survivors of traumatic brain injury.
This chapter presents the results of five semi-structured interviews conducted
with individuals who have acquired traumatic brain injuries and participated in
rehabilitation modalities. These interviews were designed to ascertain the
perceptions and experiences that these individuals have of their adjustment
and rehabilitation processes after becoming injured. The qualitative case
study method of collecting data discussed in Chapter 3 was chosen in order to
answer questions that positivist inquiry could not. In order to gain an
understanding of the viewpoints of survivors, a phenomenological
understanding of their contexts must occur (Prigatano, 1999; Stake, 1995).
This is the only way to gain an understanding of what it is like to incur and
adjust to a traumatic brain injury, given the parameters that rehabilitation and
the environment provide. In doing so, an understanding of how rehabilitation
helped or impeded survivors in reaching their goals may be better understood.
The results of the interviews achieve the two purposes. One purpose
was to construct case studies of the individuals experiences and perceptions
of adjusting to traumatic brain injury to determine any common themes and
constructs. Second, constructs derived from the data collected were to be
89


139
interested in concentrating on his research. He also is much more interested
in doing mental work, whereas before he liked physical activity and labor.
Losses. Until he met his internal medicine specialist who helped him
with replacing the hormones that his body stopped producing as a result of his
brain injury, Lex had many losses. He could not produce muscle mass, he had
no energy and his mental processes and speech were slowed. He also lost
most of his friends because he could not relate to them anymore socially and
they to him. Since he began hormone therapies 2 years ago, he has regained
his muscle mass, virility, energy, and quickened, integrated mental processes.
His social life also has improved. He wishes at times that he were outgoing
again, but not at the expense of his ability to focus.
Emotional phases of adjustment. In listening to Lexs story, he
describes being angry primarily with his rehabilitation team. For 8 years, he
grieved his losses and experienced feelings of depression but never gave up
hope. He acknowledges and accepts the changes his accident brought openly
because he feels there is no reason to deny or hide what happened. As he
puts it, its obvious if you spent any time with me, so why deny it. He has
interpreted the changes such that they facilitate him in reaching his goals.
Starting life over/rebirth. While in the rehabilitation hospital, Lex
described how tedious it was to learn how to walk, talk, and toilet train again.
He spoke of feeling that his mind and soul were trapped by physical limitations,
to which there must exist a solution. He described the process of relearning as
a process of redeveloping pathways in his mind. As he describes it, Basically,


47
The perspectives represented by this sentiment presented a dilemma
for the individual with incurred disability. Either the individual adopted the
attitude of helplessness and devaluation or the opposite attitude of minimizing
the incurred deficits and maximizing goal attainment (Rubin & Roessler, 1995;
Wright, 1983). Crisp (2000) found four profiles of people with disabilities after
conducting qualitative inquiry of perceptions of rehabilitation by those with
disabilities. These profile included battlers who saw themselves as
unhelpable and victims of their predicaments. Strugglers were those who
saw their disabilities as major disruptions to life whereas contenders de-
emphasized or redefined their disabilities. Finally, optimizers acknowledged
their disabilities while de-emphasizing its impact and accommodating with the
environment (Crisp, 2000).
The purpose of having rehabilitation public policies and delivery systems
in place was to create equal access to opportunities which could maximize the
potential to achieve goals (Gilson & Depoy, 2000; Perrin & Nirje, 1985).
Though such policies reflected sentiments that sympathize with those with
disabilities, adherence to policies fostered the notion that those with
disabilities must be normalized into society (Crisp, 2000). This notion
suggested the more archaic thinking that individuals with disabilities are weak,
of lesser ability, or crippled that is reflected in the medical models definition of
people with disabilities outlined by Gilson and Depoy (2000). Such thinking
was the trend at the turn of the 20th century, however.


178
participants shared two traits. All used something or someone as a source of
inspiration to improve and heal. Also, all found ways to turn their accident into
something that changed them for the better, not worse. He felt that he was
being forced to accept the agendas of other people that were more powerful
than him at the time.
This was also the perception of most of the participants regarding the
Contextual Rehabilitation construct. The participants all indicated that they
believed it important to make rehabilitation treatment and cognitive exercises
relevant to them. Most felt that they were completing meaningless rote
rehearsal exercises that had little application germane to them. In several of
the cases, the participants perceived that the rehabilitation team thought that
the purposes or goals chosen by the participants were unreasonable. Lex, for
instance, wanted to return to graduate school. He and his rehabilitation team
fought over this goal and he believed that his rehabilitation team wanted him to
accept goals that were meaningless to him.
In summary, with the exception of the spirituality theme, it seems that
although elements of the constructs described by the participants exist in the
models, the implementation of these constructs from the models are not
evident in implementation. Hence, the mere existence of the elements in the
models is not enough. This provides insight for application and
implementation of the models to be discussed.


186
Harrell (1992) and the Psychosocial Model of Adaptation to Disability by
Livneh and Antonak (1997) are both nonlinear and multidimensional, allowing
for any variety of therapeutic techniques required.
Another consideration is that it is not possible for clients with traumatic
brain injury to purely habilitate if memories interfere and impose on the
process of learning to live again. On one hand, such memories may elicit
feelings of anger and grief about not being able to complete tasks as before.
On the other hand, these memories may expedite the process of goal
attainment and learning to live again. Nevertheless, true habilitation connotes
learning to live and rehabilitation is the process of relearning this process. In
asking whether the process of adjustment rehabilitates during habilitation or
habilitates during rehabilitation, circular reasoning is unavoidable. Perhaps
the process occurs developmentally, concurrently, and multi-dimensionally.
As such the need for the survivors to be understood subjectively and
phenomenologically is pertinent. As memories and habits return, survivors
may assimilate the old with the new, but must inevitably forage ahead with
learning to live and function again. As such, survivors are in essence
developing who they are all over again. Viewing this process from a
developmental perspective may be an alternative to paradigms that endeavor to
re-teach, restore, and rehabilitate. Perhaps traumatic brain injuries present the
opportunity for survivors to once again habilitate, to learn to live again.
Survivors who incur traumatic brain injury during adult years are plunged back


18
population regards such individuals as different. Consequently, people with
disabilities elicit a variety of anxieties from the nondisabled population from pity
and apathy to avoidance and disdain (DeLoach, 1994; Olkin, 1999; Shontz,
1984).
The degree of stigmatization appears to be related to both the context in
which the disabled and nondisabled interact and the nature of the disabling
condition (DeLoach, 1994; Olkin, 1990). A study conducted by Sigelman,
Howell, Cornell, and Cutright (1991) produced findings that people without
disabilities are less likely to consider intimate relationships with people with
any sort of disability or difference. The public seems to be more willing to
consider friendships or work relationships with people with disabilities and
differences (Sigelman et al., 1991). Olkin (1999) found that the public tends to
be more accepting of certain disabilities such as cancer, blindness, or
paraplegia than it is of other disabilities such as drug addiction or AIDS. The
latter disabilities were viewed as controllable and evoked feelings of anger and
blame, whereas the former disabilities evoked sentiments of low responsibility
(Olkin, 1999). The impact of the polar values of independence and humanity is
great on those with disabilities and handicaps. Our culture places a high value
on being independent financially and socially (Rubin & Roessler, 1995).
Although this past century did witness the introduction of policies and
legislature that attempted to create equal access and opportunity for minority
groups, the sentiment of being self-supportive overshadowed efforts that
fostered human interests. In a society such as the United States where


120
Themes and Categories of Participants
The following pages contain the themes and categories derived for each
participant. A theme was determined after initial comparisons yielded common
topics. These common topics became themes. The themes were then
organized into categories of which there were nine, including family, coping
mechanisms, post-accident, losses, emotional phases of adjustment,
starting life all over, things rehabilitation should change, positive things
about rehabilitation, and spirituality. Constructs were then developed after
multiple comparisons and cross-comparisons. In order to become a
construct, all five participants must have experienced the elements of the
category and theme similarly.
Teresa Lvnn
Teresa Lynn is a 22-year-old, single female with brown wavy hair and
glasses. She dresses casually in jeans and a nice tee-shirt or button-ups and
needs no assistive devices to ambulate. Her gait was normal, despite having
multiple broken bones in her left leg because of a motor vehicle accident that
left her with multiple broken bones and a traumatic brain injury in 1998. Teresa
Lynn enjoys spending time with her pets and family. She currently is enrolled
at a local community college in north central Florida to obtain and Associate of
Science degree in Physical Therapy Assisting. One day she plans to help
others who have gone through similar experiences as hers. Teresa Lynn is
pleasant and confident in her interactions. She prefers one-on-one people
interactions rather than interacting in large groups or crowds. She discussed


146
these are goals that many women in their 20s and 30s focus upon and even
have biological drives toward. Her rehabilitation team dismissed her as being
unaware and in denial. She protested because she more than anyone was
acutely aware of her new limitations. Shelley also felt that more incentives
could have been provided and that the rehabilitation team should not make
predictions or recommendations to settle for lesser goals without
understanding the patients more fully.
Positive things about rehabilitation. Shelley felt that her home
rehabilitation providers did help her, including her mother who worked with her
cognitively through music, her exercise physiologist, who helps her balance
and walking without a limp, and the nurses and physical therapists, who came
to her home and helped her stretch and use her muscles.
Spirituality. Shelley has always believed in God and claims to be
Christian. She grew up in the Lutheran church and still actively participates in
this denomination. She attends church at least once per week.
Shelley now believes in miracles. She maintained that her survival is
nothing short of a miracle. She states, Making it to the hospital was
phenomenal in itself because I was trapped under the engine, but it
miraculously moved 12 inches off of me. After having been in a coma for 4
months, she was expected to be a vegetable and totally dependent. She now
works, teaching violin lessons to children. She also has obtained her
Associate of Arts degree and is writing a book about her story.


172
damaged areas are difficult to predict (Krauss & McArthur, 1999). The primary
impact damages one area of the brain, but secondary injuries caused by
swelling and neurochemical complications may cause further damage in the
brain. The sequella from traumatic brain causes potentially permanent
changes in foundational cognitive, emotional, or physical domains so that
survivors may never recover previous functioning.
In the process of adjusting to their injuries, survivors face any number of
unique challenges, such as regaining awareness, learning their new identities,
assimilating residual old identities, and learning to feel, learning think; or any
number of fundamental tasks, such as walking, talking, or toilet training
(OHara & Harrell, 1990; Prigatano, 1999). Rehabilitation teams are asked to
implement and carry out treatments designed to facilitate restoration of
previous functioning or compensation for permanent deficits (OHara & Harrell,
1990; Prigatano, 1999). Because personality, cognitive processing, and
emotional processing may be forever changed, both the survivor and the
rehabilitation team face a precarious task in trying to restore functions that may
no longer exist (Hill, 1999).
Extensive literature exists that addresses various issues regarding
traumatic brain injury. The bulk of this literature presents issues from the
perspectives of those involved with treatment, research, or family support
systems for the survivors. Scarce literature addresses traumatic brain injury in
conjunction with adjustment to traumatic brain injury psychosocially (Crisp,
2000; Prigatano, 1999). Even more scant is literature that presents adjustment


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
Of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
ADJUSTMENT OF ADULTS WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY:
A QUALITATIVE INQUIRY
By
Alice Diane Scharf-Locascio
August 2001
Chairperson: Mary Howard-Hamilton, Ed.D.
Major Department: Counselor Education
The literature in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation has grown
substantially over the past 25 years as survival rates have dramatically increased
due to advancements in neuro-surgical medicine. The bulk of this literature
addresses various psychosocial problems from the perspectives of those who
treat and support the survivors of traumatic brain injury. In addition, extensive
literature exists attempting to present relationships and predict rehabilitation
outcomes for survivors of traumatic brain injury. In recent years, conceptualizing
the meaning of disability has shifted from viewing deficits as being intrinsic within
the individual to viewing the deficits as being environmental. Further,
rehabilitation ethics mandate a consumerism approach, one that includes the
client goals in treatment planning exercises. Achieving compliance with these
shifts in rehabilitation necessitates that rehabilitation professionals understand
adjustment of survivors of traumatic brain injury phenomenologically.
vi


77
it relationships (Campbell, 1995). Rather, the focus must be upon the l-thou
relationships and interactions (Campbell, 1995). Buber was saying that it is
inappropriate to objectify people and relationships as it negates the context
(Campbell, 1995; Gall & Borg, 1996). In presenting information about
qualitative inquiry, a rationale exists for the research methodology most
appropriate for this study.
Purpose
This study examined two goals; one was to gain an understanding of
what it is like to incur and adjust to a traumatic brain injury. Extensive literature
describes the behaviors of clients with traumatic brain injury provided by
medical and rehabilitation staff and the family support systems. Treatment
plans and prognoses are developed based on these observations and
opinions that influence the potential rehabilitation outcomes for clients (Crisp,
1993; Prigatano, 1999). Though medical and rehabilitation teams espouse
client inclusion in rehabilitation planning, clients in this particular population
are often assumed to be lacking awareness and sustaining levels of denial.
While many victims of traumatic brain injury do suffer from awareness deficts,
not all of them do (Crisp, 1994; Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Prigatano, 1999). This
study was concerned with examining the experiences of traumatic brain injury
from the survivors perspective because the juxtaposition of the referenced
psychosocial dynamics, awareness and denial, is often in opposition to
treatment modalities. Perhaps it is appropriate to view awareness and denial


74
imposing rehabilitation agendas upon individuals with traumatic brain injury
that expected individuals to return to a previous state of functioning.
The literature also observed and challenged the validity of using the
Glasgow Coma Scale by Teasdale and Jennett (1974) as a predictor of
outcome for rehabilitation potential because it fails to accurately address
anything but the acute physical and neurological effects of a traumatic brain
injury. It does not take into account pre-accident and post-accident emotional,
cognitive, and personality variables such as values, determination, motivation,
and preferences that play significant roles in achieving goals and efficacy.
Questions remain unanswered about outcome.
The literature contains scarce information that constructs the accounts
and perceptions of survivors of traumatic brain injury relevant to their
adjustment and rehabilitation journeys. This chapter introduces the qualitative
methods that purport to answer the questions posed in this study that positivist,
quantitative methods cannot. The reader will encounter discussions of
purpose, problems that lead to conducting this study, the research design, the
participants, the sampling process, data collection and data analysis.
Positivism, the epistemological basis for quantitative inquiry, maintains
that the external world is an objective reality that never changes and that
phenomena can be examined entirely separate from other phenomena. The
many interactions among people, the environment, and cognition are
discounted. Empirical information collected from a representative sample can
be quantified and statistically measured to provide information that is then


94
suspended for a year despite having been hit from behind in the beginning.
She stated, It wasnt really fair for me to be charged with the accident because
I was hit from behind and that driver took off, but I didnt have the energy to fight
it at the time. She added, Besides the family of the other driver met me and
decided not to sue me, so it worked out.
Teresa Lynn underwent several surgeries to set and repair her broken
bones. She then participated in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital. She recalls
having to participate in various modalities of rehabilitation, including physical
therapy, speech pathology, cognitive remediation, counseling, and
occupational therapy. She states that there were times when she hated to get
up and start working and wanted just to wait until she was through resting and
sleeping. Looking back, she is glad in some respects for having been pushed,
while at other times it brings back bad memories. She recounts that the
physical therapists attempted to have her start standing and walking before
she could even sit up. Teresa Lynn indicated that her mother complained that
there was no logic in having to stand before sitting. Further, Teresa Lynn had to
wear a neck-stabilizing device called a halo for a period of time to help her neck
to heal. This was embarrassing for her, and she refused to eat in the dining
room for a few days. She finally relented and began eating in the cafeteria
despite feeling self conscious about her halo. Both Teresa Lynn and her
parents expressed dissatisfaction with having to transport her every time her
halo needed to be adjusted.


83
Transcripts were prepared from audio-recorded interviews with the participants
to be analyzed. After the data transcripts were analyzed, case studies were
prepared for each of the participants. Last, the properties of each of the case
studies were compared with models of disability and traumatic brain injury
adjustment.
Participants
This study intensely examined the details of survivors with traumatic
brain injury. The five participants interviewed were enough, but not too many, to
understand the experiences this population had of adjusting to traumatic brain
injury. As Runkel (1990) stated, in order to understand the experiences within
the context of individuals, it is more relevant to study one specimen at a time,
rather than the entire haul caught. The participants were five adult survivors
with a divided gender distribution of three males and two females of mild to
moderate/severe traumatic brain injury. The rationale of the gender distribution
is because 75% to 80% of adult traumatic brain injury survivors are males
between the ages of 18 and 45 due to vehicular accidents and sports injuries
(Krauss & McArthur, 1999). The chances of finding adult males with traumatic
brain injury are higher, as females accounted for 20% to 25% of the adult
survivors of TBI. As this study focused upon adults with traumatic brain injury,
the participants were between 20 and 50 years of age who had participated in a
rehabilitation program. The number of years post-injury could vary, as it was
more relevant to include participants who had participated in a rehabilitation


35
and consequences of behavior. What is important to notice is that the
purposes of these approaches were concerned with stimuli external to the
individual, thereby ignoring the internal processes of the individual.
Bandura maintained that human cognition and vicarious experiences
also affect behavior and that it is the result of a triad of the environment,
behavior, and covert individual processes interacting simultaneously (Bandura,
1997). Bandura maintained that in this triad one factor is always affected by the
other two and that cognition, comprised of motivations, thought, and emotion,
act together to determine behavior, thereby outlining Social Learning Theory
(Bandura, 1997).
From Banduras social learning theory came the term efficacy, referring
to the perceived ability and competency to carry out desired tasks. This means
that the ability of an individual to accomplish a task is affected by the level of
belief one has in oneself to accomplish it (Bandura, 1986). This relates to
incurring a disability in that the individual sets goals based on the belief of
ones abilities or residual capacities. Residual capabilities are those
capabilities one retains or discovers following adventitious illness or disability
(Wright, 1983). For instance, after traumatic brain injury is acquired, changes
occur cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally, caused by the unpredictable
progression of edema and hemorrhaging from the impact (Chadwick, 1985;
Cook, 1992). After the brain-injured patient becomes aware of the transpired
changes, new efficacy goals evolve.


122
I." Dad has had a lot of pain because of a lot of injuries over the years. She
described having had talks with angels and the driver of the other vehicle while
she was in a coma. She later found out that the driver died the day of the
accident. She interpreted this as another testimony to her survival and all the
more reason to help others with experiences similar to hers. Last, Teresa
Lynn uses her own strengths, such as determination, motivation, and drive, to
survive. When her rehabilitation hospital discharged her after only 6 weeks,
she began doing things to rehabilitate on her own. She operates from an
internal drive or locus of control to ensure that she reaches her goals.
Post accident. Teresa Lynn states that before her accident, she was
more withdrawn and not as friendly with people. She states that now she is
much more inclined to engage people in conversations and enjoys getting to
know new people. She says, I actually like talking to new people now.
Before, I was probably a little meaner, but now I am a lot nicer. She also
states that since her accident she has changed her goals from becoming a
nurse practitioner to becoming a physical therapist assistant. Teresa Lynn
described cognitive changes such as having a more difficult time with
mathematics when it came easier for her before her accident. It was really
weird. I was great at math before; now I am better at English. She also states
that she is much more focused and less distracted at home and is more
inclined to go to her room to study than becoming distracted with her animals
and family.


100
boyfriend. The law does not really look out for fathers, especially fathers with
brain injuries, he exclaims. He states that he took good care of his son, taking
him to school, enrolling him in Cub Scouts, and teaching him to surf. He states
that this is one of the reasons he does not trust law enforcement or lawyers.
His parents who live nearby and his brothers all help him when he
needs it such as taking him to the grocery store. He currently does not drive
because he had his license suspended because of various violations, such as
driving with a suspended license.
Evidently he lost his license in 1997 because he refused to take a
breathalyzer test after being stopped for driving while intoxicated. Though he
had not been drinking, his ex-wife had advised him that he should never submit
to a breathalyzer test. His attorney who had been defending him had been
removed from his case. Therefore, Bernies new attorney advised him to plead
guilty even though he had not been drinking, according to Bernie.
Bernie was accused of drunk driving a second time when he offered to
drive a girlfriend and a friend home from a bar because they were very
intoxicated. Bernie had not been drinking at all. When he failed the sobriety
test, he was taken to the police station. Bernie tried to show them the card he
carries indicating that he was brain injured, but the police roughly handcuffed
him and had him sit in the back of the squad car for 45 minutes before going to
the police station. In court, instead of convicting him for drunk driving, he was
convicted for driving with a suspended license. He also has a history of
domestic violence disputes. His means of transportation is a bicycle.


135
different, they wouldnt recognize, and the things that stayed the same had
always been there. . Some of those things werent so good and they wanted
to blame the accident. The thing they dont realize is that it werent the
accident; I had always been impulsive with money and had expensive tastes,
for example.
Spirituality. Taz became inspired to change his ways after having had
conversations with God while in a coma following his accident. Before his
accident he was a partier and self-described hardass. I really had problems
with my temper. I was the kind of guy who was always in bar fights or looking
for them. His conversations with God were about having a second chance to
change his ways. Apparently, God wanted him to pay more attention to his
sons and to stop being a hardass.
Taz is thankful in some ways for his accident because he has been
motivated to calm down and work on his anger problem. He is even willing to
take medication for it. Further, he refuses to drink excessively now. He enjoys
being sober and in control of himself. He tries to focus more on his sons, but
his ex-wife makes it difficult for him to see his youngest two sons at times. He
states that he has a lot more patience and he will wait for the day when his
sons are older and they can spend more time together without his ex-wifes
interference.
Lex
Lex is a 32-year-old, single male who resides in north central Florida
along with his family. He currently is working on his Master of Science degree


203
is a semi-structured interview. This type of interview allows the participant to
deviate to other relevant information deemed important for a thorough
understanding. The interviews will be audio-recorded and then transcribed for
data analyzation. After the transcripts are analyzed, you will be provided a copy
of your case study to read. After reading your case study, you will receive a
feedback form to respond to the results. If you decided that information is
missing or incorrect, you will be asked to participate in a second interview.
Should a second interview become necessary, you will be given your revised
case study to review with a second feedback form with which to respond.
The goal is to provide an accurate account of what happened and how
you view your adjustment from your point of view. A detailed description is
provided in the informed consent form.
You are invited to participate in this research project. You are
guaranteed your complete confidentiality and measures will be taken to ensure
this (details provided in the Informed Consent Form. Should you decide to
participate, please read, sign and fill out the Informed Consent Form so that
we may make arrangements to meet. If you decide to not participate, simply do
not sign this form or the Informed Consent Form.
Name:
Address:
Phone:
My contact information is (352) 373-6375 should you have any
questions. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Dee Dee Scharf-Locascio
Doctoral Candidate, University of Florida


64
Brain Injury Rehabilitation Challenges and Limitations
Because of the unpredictable nature of traumatic brain injury and its
overlapping sequella, it has been difficult to measure the breadth of issues for
each individual through positivist inquiry (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). To do so
imposes serious limitations to growth and recovery potential. The most useful
manner of attempting to understand the victims perceptions of acquiring brain
injury is adherence to understanding survivors reality of events
phenomenologically (Prigatano, 1999). Factors recognized as significant in
determining psychosocial outcome for TBI survivors include pre- and post
injury education, personality, social network, cultural, financial, TBI sequella,
resources, medical care, and treatment team. Antonak et al. (1993) noted that
emphasis needs to be placed upon psychosocial sequella subsequent to
brain injury as this has more significant impact upon social relationships and
therefore is a better predictor than the physical sequella. Hill (1999) noted that
literature documenting traumatic brain injury from a psychosocial perspective is
scarce, especially from the perspective of survivors. Longevity studies tend to
focus upon a span of 3 to 5 years post-injury, and Hill (1999) contended that
this is not long enough to make accurate predictions.
Significant deficits exist in the knowledge base of psychosocial
adaptation to traumatic brain injury because of problems with using
appropriate research methodologies. Selecting the most appropriate research
design is problematic because defining variables has been difficult. Variables
become defined from data collections of which the majority are retrospective


183
philosophical paradox may have existed for the participants who coped by re
framing their accidents as positive, rather than being angry because it
happened. Various cognitive behavioral, experiential, rational-emotive
counseling interventions may be utilized to process feelings of anger, grief, and
sadness. These feelings were also discussed in the construct Sense of
Rebirth because over time participants remembered having once been able to
do the activities that they were re-learning as a result of their brain injuries.
The construct Sense of Rebirth contained the participants recounts of
having to learn how to do, feel, and learn things over again. As participants
were able to remember, feelings of frustration were acknowledged about
having to relearn what was once a routine. The participants conveyed various
goals ranging from learning to walk to completing a graduate degree or writing
a book. The emotions conveyed in Emotional Phases of Adjustment have the
ability to foster or impede clients from their goals. Rehabilitation professionals
and programs are presented with a unique paradox many times because on
one hand they are trying to support client efficacy, empowering clients to attain
reasonable goals while not imposing agendas on clients. On the other hand,
rehabilitation professionals are the unwitting models and teachers of how to
think, feel, and be, remembering that survivors of traumatic brain injury are re
learning to think, feel, and be. The scenario is unintentionally similar to infants
and toddlers learning from primary caregivers, except that brain injury survivors
have the interfering memories and variables of their lives before their injuries.


130
that he believes in God, but does not recall any specific prayers or experiences
that were spiritual or religious since his accident.
Taz
Taz is a 38-year-old, divorced male with three children-boys, 9, 11, and
17 years old. He grew up in New Hampshire and moved to Florida with his first
wife and first son and currently is residing on the coast of Central Florida. His
biological parents are married and live nearby. His fraternal twin is one of his
sisters, and they have two older sisters all of whom live in New Hampshire.
Taz obtained his Associate of Science degree and has worked toward a
Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He explains that he
earned his nickname, Taz, while attending college and has many fond
memories of college. He states that he now is thankful that he never finished
his bachelors degree now because he does not think he could handle the
responsibility of the detailed work involved in electrical engineering since his
accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury. As he puts it, Thank God I
never finished that bachelors because it would be useless now.
His current job is as a manager and maintenance engineer of a 55-unit
condominium complex on the beach. He does not enjoy this job and is
currently considering returning to his previous position as the maintenance
engineer of a mental health hospital near Orlando. Taz explains that this would
be an exciting move for him, and he believes he can handle the pace of the job.
In his opinion, he has not had meaningful employment since his accident on
New Years Eve of 1997 during which he flipped his four-wheeler without


111
buddies from his program would exercise their shoulder muscles by doing
handstand pushups after running. After returning from the football game, Lex
decided to do a handstand on the balcony railing of his second story apartment
and fell. When he landed, his head hit a parking bumper directly underneath
his balcony, causing a traumatic brain injury. Specifically, his left parietal lobe
was injured, and his pituitary gland was ripped off. As a result, his body no
longer produced important hormones such as thyroid, hydro-cortisone, and
testosterone. He spent 2 weeks in a coma. He states that he remembers
having conversations with God while in a coma. From these conversations, he
was given a mission. He states that he knows that it sounds strange because
he never really believed in God before. He laughs, I know its strange because
I was not a believer, but I did talk to Him and got my mission. The content of
the conversation seemed to be that now that Lex is brain injured, he will no
longer have a problem focusing on things as he did before with his hyperactivity
and inattentiveness. So Lex was able to gain focus, concentration, and his
mission to help the environment despite his losses from his accident.
Lex states that he met an internal medicine specialist locally in 1999
who was able to pinpoint what his problems were and begin a regimen of
medications and hormone treatments. From 1991 until 1995, he could not
form muscle mass, could not gain weight, had slowed mental processes, and
had limited energy. He states that one of his biggest disappointments with his
rehabilitation is that no one on his medical or rehabilitation team had thought of


147
Shelley is thankful to God and for her mother for carrying her through this
experience. She does not recall having specific conversations with God or
angels, but knows that she survived to serve some higher purpose. She
believes that this purpose is to inspire and provide hope for others who endure
harrowing accidents.
Constructs of Participants
Constructs were derived after applying the constant comparative method
to the transcribed data of the perceptions of adjustment and rehabilitation of the
participants after acquiring traumatic brain injuries. Constructions of case
studies were used to ascertain the perceptions of the participants about
whether or not rehabilitation modalities helped or obstructed them from
aspiring to their goals and adjustment. Five constructs were derived from the
accounts of the participants, including the importance of family support, the
sense of being reborn and beginning everything all over again, the
development of coping mechanisms, the experiencing of emotional adjustment
phases, and believing that rehabilitation expectations and goals should be
congruent with client contexts.
Family Support
The importance of family support was discussed by each of the
participants. Each of the participants was fortunate enough to have had strong
family support systems that advocated for them in the acute and immediate
stages of acquiring their injuries. Further, all of the participants believed that


193
backgrounds, various geographic locations, various ages, and
various socioeconomic backgrounds. It is suggested that the
constructs developed from this study be compared and contrasted
with those developed from future studies to discover new constructs
or differences among individuals.
2. Additional qualitative research should be conducted with survivors of
traumatic brain injury at varying intervals regarding their adjustment.
For instance, qualitative inquiry should take place with survivors who
are five years post-accident, ten years post-accident, 15 years post
accident, and so on. In doing so differences among the groups may
provide insight into the healing and adjustment process.
3. The perspectives of survivors with traumatic brain injury should be
compared with the perspectives of rehabilitation treatment providers
that have been ascertained qualitatively in order to explore
differences in the foci of rehabilitation.
4. The perspectives of rehabilitation treatment providers should be
compared with the perspectives of supportive family members or
other members of the survivors support systems. This should be
done in order to qualitatively ascertain differences that may exist in
the adjustment process of the survivor of traumatic brain injury.
5. From these qualitative inquiries, it is suggested that new instruments
might be developed to accurately ascertain perceptions, constructs,
and issues of adjustment among representative populations.
Existing assessments may be based on the language of those who
view these issues from the outside in versus from the survivor
perspective.
6. It is suggested that categorizing individuals as mild, moderate,
and severe be assessed and evaluated periodically over a
reasonable time span so that individuals are not limited to the
parameters of such labels.
7. Implementing efficacy and empowerment phenomenologically is a
paradox within itself. Models that purport to both empower clients
and that recognize client efficacy phenomenologically needs further
examination. For now, practitioner should be aware of the conflicts
that could arise with such contradictions.
8. Habilitating during rehabilitation such as what occurs with traumatic
brain injured populations also presents a philosophical dilemma that
warrants further discussion and exploration by researchers. Further
examination of these paradoxes should be explored.


60
Table 1
Glasgow Coma Scale
Patients Response
Score
Eye opening
Eyes open spontaneously
4
Eyes open when spoken to
3
Eyes open to painful stimulation
2
Eyes do not open
1
Motor
Follows commands
6
Makes localizing movements to pain
5
Makes withdrawal movements to pain
4
Flexor (decorticate) posturing to pain
3
Extensor (decerebrate) posturing to pain
2
No motor response to pain
1
Verbal
Oriented to place and date
5
Converses but is disoriented
4
Utters inappropriate words, not conversing
3
Makes incomprehensible nonverbal sounds
2
Not vocalizing
1
Total:
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
less than 9
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury
9 to 12
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
greater than 12
(Teasdale & Jennett, 1974)


177
addressed for the survivors and present efficacy, goal setting, humanistic
principles, and cognitive-behavioral modalities to address the variables. Last,
the Holistic Model of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation was chosen because it
purports to incorporate a combination of psychotherapeutic and cognitive
restructuring modalities. The difference between this model and the
Empowerment Model of Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation is that the Holistic
Model of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation draws more heavily from cognitive
and cognitive-behavioral theories. The Empowerment Model introduces more
of the elements of humanism such as the goals of increasing self-respect
and self-esteem.
The purpose of comparing and contrasting the derived constructs from
this study with those in these three models was to determine whether
elements of the derived constructs were contained in the models. The results
revealed that elements of all five constructs indeed existed somewhere in each
of the models. Contrasts existed between the constructs and models relevant
to implementation.
For instance, in the Family Support" construct, most participants
wanted and had supportive family members. Two of the males, however, had
unsupportive wives. In one case, the participant did not want the spouse to be
included in rehabilitation planning and treatment, but she was despite his
protests. The key point here is that the participants perception of her
participation was that he was being forced to include her in order to proceed to
other rehabilitation goals. In the Coping Mechanisms" construct, the


140
there are two parts to all of us . the physical and the spiritual. For me, my
physical domain had been trapped for eight years until meeting my doctor, he
states, and the disappointing part is that no one explored hormone
replacement in rehabilitation after my pituitary gland was destroyed.
Things rehabilitation should change. Lex had many disappointments
with his rehabilitation treatment, the biggest being that efforts were not taken
initially to begin hormone replacement within the first 12 months post-injury.
Another source of disappointment was the way he was treated by his doctors at
the rehabilitation hospital. His goals, beliefs, and preferences were dismissed
as him lacking awareness, being in denial, and being noncompliant. Lex
interpreted this as confining and limiting his potential and was disappointed in
the physicians expectation that Lex should limit himself.
He expressed extreme disappointment that his rehabilitation team made
prognoses and predictions based on only the physical aspects of his injury, not
taking into consideration Lexs drive, determination, and will to succeed in his
mission and goals. And he expressed disappointment of the rehabilitation
teams unwillingness to take into consideration and explore his perspective.
First of all, why butt heads with someone with a brain injury? That is just
stupid to begin with because they are not capable of understanding, initially.
The doctors should explain reasons for creating certain goals instead of forcing
me to do it their way.
Positive things about rehabilitation. While Lex could not find anything
positive about his experience with his treatment at the rehabilitation hospital,


Another problem is that adjustment is contextual, while quantitative
research is noncontextual for populations with traumatic brain injury (TBI)
82
(Crisp, 1993; Prigatano, 1999). The adjustment that takes place in an inpatient
rehabilitation setting may be very different from that of the clients environment.
Testing that predicts adjustment outcomes takes place in a sterile, clinical
environment and may hold little validity, once the clients return to their own
surroundings. Similarly, the levels of adjustment for individuals with TBI in the
home environment and the work environment may have great differences.
Understanding adjustment deductively leaves many unanswered contextual
questions, while inductive methods such as case study research best answers
inquiries about perceptions (Stake, 1995).
Research Design
Of the qualitative methodologies, case study research permits the
researcher to collect data in a defined instance within the clients natural
setting. Case study research is the thorough examination of the particular(s) of
a bounded instance (Stake, 1995). Its goal is to learn about the phenomena
occurring within the instance defined and to assemble the phenomena into an
accurate understanding (Bogden & Biklen, 1992; Crisp, 1993; Stake; 1995).
The recollections and perceptions of individuals with traumatic brain injury are
the phenomena observed in this study and the defined time frame, or instance,
is the time of accident through the present. The participants were given the
opportunity to construct their memories and impressions of incurring their
injuries and adjusting to them by responding to a semi-structured interview.


CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
The review of relevant literature lends a better understanding into what is
already known about adjustment issues in disability and brain injury
rehabilitation. The earlier writings of Beatrice Wright (1983), Carolyn Vash
(1981), and Franklin Shontz (1975) present psychosocial issues that result
from incurring a disability that lead to the more recent paradigms of
understanding the psychosocial issues of disability from social, multicultural,
and needs-based perspectives discussed by Oliver (1996), Wendell (1996),
and Brown et al. (2000). From these writings, the progression of
understanding these issues has gone from viewing disability as being an
intrinsic phenomenon within the individual that must be minimized and
reframed to viewing obstacles presented by disabilities as being strictly
environmental (Crisp, 2000). As such, one of the questions raised by this
research is how has rehabilitation fostered or impeded individuals with
traumatic brain injury in aspiring to their rehabilitation and life goals. The
literature recognized that survivors of traumatic brain injury endure neurological
sequella causing permanent changes in foundational domains such as
emotion, personality, cognition, and other physio-neurological changes.
Questions were also raised in the literature regarding the appropriateness of
73


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Possibilities are more important than what already exists,
and knowledge of the latter counts only in its bearing upon
possibilities.
(Dewey, 1959, p. 119)
Though the above quote was meant for applications in education
philosophy, it also applies to rehabilitation philosophy. The quote by Dewey is
introduced as a means to encourage readers to accept the possibility that
individuals who become brain injured might achieve far more than expected of
them and more than was predicted for them after becoming injured. The reality
of this happening may challenge traditional paradigms that serve to guide
rehabilitation and medical personnel in providing optimum care for patients
and clients. These paradigms may unintentionally preclude client potential by
imposing confining and limiting parameters.
Rehabilitation personnel are charged with facilitating attainment of
treatment goals of individuals with an acquired disability. Ideally, clients give
their input and proceed through a rehabilitation program with targeted goals
outlined by the rehabilitation team to completion and satisfaction. In reality,
treatment goals are most often pre-established and aligned with existing
philosophies and paradigms that are then adjusted and implemented in
compliance with funding sources. Rehabilitation staff and personnel are
1


124
aged. Last, she thought that having a spiritual leader or advisor should be
available as she values this type of intervention and leadership more than she
does dealing with head-shrink doctors.
Positive things about rehabilitation. The rehabilitation team helped
Teresa Lynn to feel better about herself when she was not feeling good. She
states, They really made me laugh and it really lifted my spirits. She also
relates that she was thankful for her speech pathologist because he helped
trigger her memory. She states that a language exercise caused her to
remember going frog gigging with her older half brother and father. From there
she was able to retrace many memories, I was really excited because once I
remembered going froggin with my older half brother and Dad, I remembered
more and more about school and everything!
Spirituality. Teresa Lynn discussed her faith and spirituality. She
explained that she has a very active spiritual life and prays to God regularly.
She also participates in church activities several times weekly. Teresa Lynn
described feeling like she wanted to die a couple of times and remembered
asking God to show her why He allowed her to live. From this type of praying,
she developed the idea to return to school to become a physical therapy
assistant. She stated, The idea just popped in my head. Teresa Lynn stated
that she believes that this was Gods answer to her question. She maintains
that her faith and perseverance have worked together to help her to see the
good that can come from something bad.


127
would tell her to leave me alone cause my humor is a good sign that Im going
to get better.
Post-accident. Bernie states that he has changed significantly since his
accident, in that he is no longer a party-goer like he used to be. He states, I
used to be able to think straight even when I wasnt, if you know what I mean.
Now I dont like being out of control and I dont think straight when I drink, so I
just dont. He also has become more settled and focused on his
responsibilities such as his job, son, house, and health. Bernie had a
significant legal history before his accident because of domestic violence and
drinking and driving violations. Having this past record has not served him
since incurring his brain injury. He once was First Cook at a restaurant and
would have become a chef had he not become injured in his accident. He still
surfs but admits that he now has arthritis in his injured wrist that makes surfing
painful in the winter because of the cold water. He states that he has gained
awareness of what is really important in life since his accident as well. Another
change that he has experienced is that he is less extroverted, preferring the
company of only a few people. He also has less energy and has problems
with scheduling and organizing his time. He says, I have to admit, I do get
tired more easily. But thats okay cause I aint getting any younger anyway. I
can deal with that cause I have dealt with worse.
Losses. Since his accident, Bernie states that he has had many losses.
His marriage ended as a result of the accident; his ex-wife did not like the
changes caused by the accident. According to him, She really did me wrong


16
functioning. Congenital disability necessitates that caregivers teach a
normative process so that the individual with a handicap at birth may one day
achieve independent living. Children with congenital disabilities learn to
incorporate the effects of their disabilities or handicaps during formative years
by their experiences with caregivers. These guardians tend either to coddle too
much, thereby fostering a dependent personality; or the guardians teach their
children to ignore the disability (Olkin, 1999). Other parents take steps to
educate and provide support for the ongoing socialization process for their
children with special conditions.
Disability and Identity
The precise meaning of identity has no consensus among theorists and
scholars. Numerous theories exist that endeavor to explain identity, each
presenting the elements of identity through different paradigms. The term has
appeared to be an enigma to the scientific world, as only certain aspects are
quantifiable (Kegan, 1982). The recent trend in psychology is positivist and
attempts to quantify data in order to disprove a hypothesis according to Kegan
(1982). This, however, may be the cause of other aspects of identity to be
overlooked and be left undefined. Defining identity may be a qualitative
process (Kegan, 1982; McAdams, 1993). Identity is shaped by context(s) and
experiences with certain components remaining unchanged as one
encounters changes and transformations (Rangell, 1994).
Many times people see themselves relevant to the people and things in
their lives, thereby defining themselves in a context (Kegan, 1982). It is


163
support was vital for the participants successes. This study does not reflect
whether maladjustment or disempowerment occurs if family support is absent.
However, three of the five participants had family members who were not
supportive of all their goals. For instance, both Bernie and Taz had wives who
divorced them as a result of their accidents. Both of these ex-spouses had
signed papers to have their husbands live in long-term care facilities.
Coincidentally, both Bernies and Tazs parents took steps to prevent these
things from happening. Both Bernie and Taz saw their parents as being
supportive for doing this. Shelley felt similarly toward her mother and family.
Paradoxically, Taz and Shelley reported that they now see their parents as less
supportive. In fact, both Taz and Shelley reported feeling that their parents
disempower or admonish them for some of their current goals. So in this
sense, Family Support does not support the Empowerment Model.
The constructs Sense of Being Reborn, Development of Coping
Mechanisms, and Emotional Phases of Adjustment all have elements that
can be seen in the component of Acceptance of the Empowerment Model. In
the construct Sense of Being Reborn, the reality of the participants repeating
the learning of fundamental tasks such as toilet training, walking, and talking
again brings to surface feelings of acknowledging that they are different and
feelings of frustration that they have to do it again as adults. The Acceptance
component of the Empowerment Model views this as a component of
reintegrating the old self with former capabilities with the new self and new
capabilities.


201
2. Dr. Mary Howard-Hamilton
Department of educational Leadership, Policy, and Foundations
PO Box 117049
Gainesville, FL 32611-7049
(352) 392-2391 X277
Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study:
UFIRB Office
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-2250
(352) 392-0433
Agreement:
I have read the procedure(s) described above. I voluntarily agree to participate
in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description
Participant: Date:
Principal Investigator: Date:


34
Personality Theories. Psychosocial Adjustment, and Rehabilitation
The groundwork had been broken in field of psychology during the 20th
century leading to further exploration down different paths including
rehabilitation and adjustment. Theories of psychology attempted to explain and
understand personality, cognitive and emotional domains, and the experiences
affecting the perceptions and decisions of individuals. As adjustment is
acknowledged as a part of various life situations, rehabilitation could not ignore
the psychosocial ramifications of acquiring disability. In order to understand
foundational elements brain injury rehabilitation, it is worthwhile to examine
theories that help to explain elements that constitute behavior such as
cognition, emotion, and personality traits in conjunction with adjustment
models.
There are many theories that have been generated as an attempt to
explain and understand human behavior and personality. Several have been
chosen to discuss to exemplify frameworks of understanding behavior through
qualitative inquiry and adjustment to disability. The theories focused upon in
this study are Albert Banduras Social Learning Theory, Erik Eriksons
developmental models, and Marcias middle adulthood developmental model.
Social Learning Theory
Albert Bandura (1986) developed a theory of learning and behavior
derived from behavioral theories such as classical conditioning and operant
conditioning. Whereas classical conditioning was concerned with responses
to conditional stimuli, operant conditioning was concerned with antecedents


115
and adolescence, expanding the realm of her musical endeavors into joining a
band. She also danced and was employed as a dancer as well as a musician
before her accident. She received a full 4-year music scholarship to a Florida
university and attended for 1 year. She explains that she lost the scholarship
because she did not apply herself or live up to her potential. At the time, she
was more concerned with an unhealthy dating relationship, that upon looking
back, she does not understand and regrets. In fact, she describes this
relationship as her heroin fix which she never actually tried but has heard how
addictive it can be. Shelley states that she was once able to get by on sheer
talent alone. She explains that everything changed in a split second for her and
now she must work much harder to achieve her goals. She attributes her
survival and successes so far to God and feels that her survival is nothing short
of a miracle.
Her accident occurred 8 years ago in 1993, when she was 22 years old.
She perceives her brain injury as having been born again. Not long after her
22nd birthday on a rainy January afternoon, Shelley had gone to lunch with the
same ex-boyfriend who had given her such mental warfare" before. She was
the passenger, and he was driving. Unbeknownst to her, he had used
marijuana earlier that day, causing him to have impaired judgment while
driving. They were involved in a head-on motor vehicle collision that forever
changed Shelleys life. Shelley has been able to piece together what
happened from stories that other people have told her. In fact, she conducted
her own interviews of the emergency and medical personnel who saved her


71
therapeutic atmosphere and bond between treating therapist teams and client.
These included cognitive retraining, small-group cognitive retraining hour,
cognitive group therapy, individualized cognitive retraining, psychotherapy,
family involvement and education, and the protected work trial.
In pursuit of developing a therapeutic atmosphere and understanding
the perspectives of clients, Prigatano (1999) maintained that clients could
optimize therapeutic goals if confusion and frustration were reduced and trust
was established between the rehabilitation staff and client. Group therapy and
individual treatment modalities were endorsed as mechanisms to restore and
restructure cognitive functioning or to introduce strategies to compensate for
deficits (Prigatano, 1999). He introduced small-group cognitive therapy hour as
another means of implementing this concept, yet in a short, concise time frame
that holds the clients interest (Prigatano, 1999). Family education was meant
to inform and support the immediate support systems of the clients so that
loved ones had a better understanding of how they and their loved one were
impacted. Last, supported return-to-work programs were introduced to
enhance the transition in returning to and maintaining work (Prigatano, 1999).
Summary
Adjusting to and living with traumatic brain injury is a complex journey for
the survivor as well as for those who are treating and supporting the individual.
The survivors of traumatic brain injury experience intrinsic and extrinsic
variables during the process from cognitive and emotional to sequella to social
stigma and isolation. Shifts in disability legislation have led to subsequent


Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to obtain descriptions from survivors of
7
traumatic brain injury about their perceptions of adjusting to disability and then
to compare the perspectives with existing disability theories and practices.
Because research in brain injury rehabilitation is newer than other disability
groups, there is not an abundance of literature that presents relevant issues
from the client perspective. In addition, there is scarce literature in brain injury
research that examines neurobehavioral and psychosocial constructs thereby
revealing the youth of brain injury research (Olkin, 1999; Prigatano, 1999).
Trauma to the brain potentially affects foundational domains of an individual
including cognition personality, intelligence, and physical functioning. The term
rehabilitation for this disability group may be a misnomer because an injury
affecting these facets of identity concurrently may require the individual to
habilitate (Hill, 1999). Traditional rehabilitation therapy that endeavors to return
individuals to optimal functioning may be inappropriate when the survivor may
need to start all over again, not merely return to a previous state. It is difficult to
argue that a person who suffers from personality changes can return to being
the same person (Hill, 1999). The only way to determine the needs of the client
and the course of disability treatment planning is to endeavor to understand
what the client currently perceives as the rehabilitation treatment course to
follow (Prigatano, 1999). This means examining the current context of the client
and de-emphasizing the process of restoring patients to a state of functioning
that may be impossible due to the imposed deficits of traumatic brain injury.


218
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APPENDIX G
EMPOWERMENT MODEL
EXTERNAL STRUCTURE
+
MOTIVATION
INFORMATION
1
+
+
ACCEPTANCE
I
+
UNDERSTANDING
(COGNITION)
ACCEPTANCE
(EMOTION)
EMPOWERMENT
SKILLS
I
ACTION
(BEHAVIOR)
(O'Hara & Harrell, 1991)
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157
participants described the sense of having to relearn everything and start all
over with walking, talking, toilet training, thinking, and feeling again. All five also
indicated a level of irritation and frustration with having to recomplete these
fundamental tasks.
It should be delineated that the individual tasks that had to be relearned
had different anger reactions. Specifically, the participants described having to
relearn tasks such as toilet training, walking, talking, and writing as being
frustrating because these are things they originally learned to do during the first
several years of life. These tasks were frustrating because it is embarrassing
simply because these had to be relearned as adults. All of the participants
could remember doing these tasks before their accidents and found it sobering
that they had to relearn these tasks.
The tasks of relearning to think and feel carried a different level of
frustration for the participants that were expressed in terms of not wanting to be
expected to relearn to think and feel again according to a group agenda, set
protocol, or like they did before. It seemed that the participants were indicating
that they preferred having input into planning rehabilitation exercises while they
were learning to be perhaps, different individuals. Concurrently, several of the
participants experienced grief and sadness, realizing that they would be
permanently different than they were before. Implications of this can be seen in
the in the construct of Contextual Rehabilitation as well. The participants all
indicated that rehabilitation needed to take into account the individual goals
and preferences of each survivor.


190
identity based on modeling after others in the environment or even modeling
goals based on lessons taught by rehabilitation professionals. This is
because the survivors who make such commitments to goals and identities
without having had the opportunities to explore the new parameters imposed
by a brain injury are merely adhering to someone elses parameters and goals.
Paradoxically then, rehabilitation theory endeavoring to return individuals
to optimal states of functioning based on social learning theory may also limit
the survivor to foreclosed identity. Returning individuals with traumatic brain
injury to optimal states of functioning may only take place after residual
capabilities as well as new capabilities and possibilities are determined. For
individuals with traumatic brain injury, this may not happen for many years.
Rehabilitation programs are typically designed for terms that are much shorter
than the healing process for this population. Therefore, having survivors
commit to goals may prematurely rob them of exploring the long-term
parameters of their potentials.
Social Learning Theory is phenomenological in that it encapsulates the
continuous and reciprocal interaction that occur between the environment and
the individual. Bandura also endorsed efficacy that also impacts the
interactions through the cognition of the clients. However, as pointed out
earlier, rehabilitation professionals are trained according to various paradigms
that unavoidably influence the efficacious process of clients. In this sense,
Social Learning Theory shares the same paradox and dilemma as the Holistic
Model of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation" by Prigatano (1999).


CHAPTER 6
DISCUSSION
Introduction
This chapter contains four sections. The first section presents a review
of the results from Chapter 4 and 5. The second portion indicates limitations of
this study and reminds the audience of the intent of qualitative inquiry. The third
section discusses implications for practice and theory, and the last section
discusses recommendations for future research. Within the body of the
discussions, potential explanations and interpretations of the results are
offered. Last, this chapter encourages readers, practitioners, and researchers
to explore the parameters of existing paradigms in traumatic brain injury
research and practice so that survivors may all reach their contextual potentials.
Review of Results
The literature in traumatic brain injury has grown significantly over the
past 25 years. More and more individuals who sustain traumatic brain injuries
are surviving because of more advanced technology in neurosurgical treatment
and care. Traumatic brain injury is caused by blunt trauma to the head during
acceleration or deceleration impacts resulting in neurological damage to the
brain (Krauss & McArthur, 1999). The results of this type of injury to the brain
present unique challenges for medical care and rehabilitation because
171


72
shifts in disability philosophies; the environment, the outsiders, rather than the
individual with disability imposes handicaps and disabilities. Rehabilitation
philosophies have experienced similar shifts in theory, but inquiry is needed in
order to determine whether the shifts are occurring yet in practice. Quantitative
methods of ascertaining rehabilitation treatment methods have provided
limited information that is skewed by the parameters of the questionnaires and
assessments that gauge satisfaction and adjustment. Qualitative methods of
ascertaining this information provide valuable data but are scant; therefore, this
study endeavors to provide additional data for the research base in a qualitative
fashion. The following chapter discusses the qualitative methods chosen for
answering the research problem presented in this study. In this endeavor of
learning how survivors of traumatic brain injury view their adjustment and
rehabilitation interventions, two purposes are accomplished. One is that the
perceptions of survivors of traumatic brain injury is learned phenomenologically
and that accounts of the survivors may be properly constructed from the inside
view to the outside view. Second, the derived constructs from these survivors
may be compared and contrasted with existing theories of adjustment to
disability and traumatic brain injury.


This study examined adjustment and rehabilitation from the perspectives
of adult survivors of traumatic brain injury. Qualitative case study techniques
were used to ascertain the viewpoints of three males and two females about their
adjustment to traumatic brain injury. Participation criteria for this study included
that the individuals had to be between 20 and 50 years old; they must have
incurred a traumatic brain injury; they must have participated in rehabilitation;
and they must have been aware of their adjustment issues for participation in this
study. The data were collected by interviewing and audio-recording the five
participants and then the information was transcribed. From the transcriptions,
case studies were constructed and then analyzed using the constant
comparative method to determine themes and constructs to satisfy the first
purpose of this study. The derived constructs were compared and contrasted
with three theories of adjustment to disability and traumatic brain injury to satisfy
the second purpose of this study. Finally, the implications from this study and
recommendations for future research were presented.
Vll


conducted in order to understand something other than the particulars of the
individual case itself (Stake, 1995).
88
The results of these endeavors are contained in Chapter 4. A
discussion of observed comparisons between the constructs derived from the
participants and the constructs of TBI rehabilitation theory occurs in Chapter 5.


209
Table 1-1. Constructs and Models
FAMILY
SUPPORT
REBIRTH
COPING
MECHANISMS
EMOTION
PHASES OF
ADJUSTMT.
CONTEXTUAL
REHABILITATION
Psychocial
Model
of Adaptation to
Disability
Class II
SociodemographicVa
liable
Frustration with
relearning
fundamental tasks
related to anger.
Delineates as
different type of
frustration with
relearning to think
and feel.
Class III Variable
Encompasses
Intrapersonal and
Environmental
exchanges: Defense
Mechanisms, Locus of
control,
Anger and Grief/
Depression were
common to all
participants
supporting model
premise
Model does not
indicate relevance
or impoortance of
client goals. Not
evident in model.
Empowerment
Model
Present in the
Acceptance
Component
Function of re-
untegrating old and
new skills in
Acceptance
Model suggests fostering
positive efficacy and
empowement in
Acceptance & Skills
Components
Suggests therapy
modalities to work
through anger &
grief.
Model authors
treatment plans
with clients
empowering cleitns
to set reasonable
goals. If client
unable to set
goals, team does
it. This is in
danger of
becoming
authoritarian and
disempwering.
Holistic Model of
Neuropsych
ological
Rehabilitation
Supported in Family
Education
Component albeit
cognitive
Frustration levels in
common. Frustraion
of two levels for
participants vs. in
general in model No
mention of confusion.
Model relies on
cognitive restructuring
and cognitive-
behavioral
psychotherapy
Addressed through
cognitive therapies.
Tobe processed
in cognitive
psychotherapies in
model
Supported in
model as means of
facitlitating
cognitive
restoration goals.


90
compared and contrasted with three models of adjustment to disability and
brain injury. The first portion of this chapter presents the results of the
constructed case studies. The second portion presents the results of the data
analyses that derived five constructs using the constant comparative method, a
systematic method for analyzing qualitative data developed by Glaser and
Strauss (1967). A discussion of the second purpose, to compare and contrast
the derived constructs with three models of rehabilitation to disability, takes
place in Chapter 5. The case studies presented below were constructed from
the transcripts and represent the perceptions of adjustment to traumatic brain
injury by five participants, two females and three males.
Case Study 1: Teresa Lvnn
Teresa Lynn, accompanied by her mother, arrived for our interview
dressed casually in jeans and a shirt on a late Friday morning after attending
classes at a local community college. She was in good spirits and eager to
participate in the interview. She was a little embarrassed about being late and
explained that her mother had a schedule conflict. Socially, she presented
herself confidently and comfortably, though she admitted that she is
sometimes shy.
Teresa Lynn is a childless, unmarried, 22-year-old Caucasian woman,
with shoulder length, wavy, brownish hair. She currently resides with her
parents in a very rural area of north-central Florida, where she has spent all but
3 years of her life. Neither of her parents works currently, as her father has a
disability and her mother is not working so that she can help Teresa Lynn.


program launched for persons with disabilities providing vocational
rehabilitation for those deemed to be employable (Rubin & Roessler, 1995).
The Vocational Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1954 enacted by
President Eisenhower significantly increased funding for the vocational
rehabilitation movement for those with mental and physical handicaps by
creating funding for the training of rehabilitation professionals (Rubin &
Roessler, 1995, p. 33). Later, Social Security amendments and vocational
rehabilitation amendments created income for those unable to work and
assistance for those able to return to work in some capacity (Rubin & Roessler,
1995, p. 37). Other disability legislation contributed toward inclusion and
socio-political equality, including the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 that
stated that all federally financed and constructed transportation facilities or
buildings must be accessible and useable by people with mobile, visual, and
auditory disabilities (Fleischer & Zames, 1998).
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibited businesses and
employers who received federal funds from discriminating on the basis of
physical or mental disabilities. This bill utilized the concepts developed in Title
IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibited discrimination based on race,
ethnicity and religion (Fleischer & Zames, 1998; Rubin & Roessler, 1995). The
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1975 provided that children
with disabilities receive a free, public education with the least restrictive
environment (Fleischer & Zames, 1998). The Fair Housing Act Amendments
1988 stated that discrimination against people with disabilities was prohibited


APPENDIX B
FEEDBACK FORM 1
Please take the time to complete the following form after you have read
your case study. Where applicable, please circle a number that indicates how
you rate your answers to the following questions.
The numbers from 1 to 5 indicate: (1) Very inaccurate (2) somewhat inaccurate
(3) neutral (4) somewhat accurate (5) very accurate for the following questions.
1.How would you rate the accuracy of your case study?
1 2 3 4 5
For the following questions, please circle Yes or No.
2. Are you satisfied with your case study that has been produced?
Yes No
3. Would you like to add or change anything about your case study?
Yes No
4. Would you like a second interview to add or change your case study so
that it will be more accurate?
Yes No
On a scale of 1 to 5, indicate the following in regard to the statement below:
(1) not confident (2) somewhat not confident (3) neutral (4) somewhat
confident or (5) confident.
5. I am confident that I am satisfied with the results and accuracy of my case
study.
1 2 3 4 5
Please give comments or suggestions
196


68
community program that provides a place of residence to assist with
transitioning toward community re-entry (Brain Injury Association, 2000).
While there are numerous traumatic brain injury rehabilitation treatment
programs, this literature review focused upon models in the literature that
foster survivor efficacy and empowerment with an attempted understanding of
the perspective of the survivor. Three such models were examined including
Livneh and Antonaks (1997) Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability phase
model, OHara and Harrells (1990) Empowerment Model, and Prigatanos
(1999) Principles for treating individuals with traumatic brain injury cognitive-
based model.
Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability
Livneh and Antonak (1997) developed a conceptual model of adaptation
to disability (Appendix F). Adjustment is viewed as a subset of and last stage of
adaptation, whereas adaptation is the continuous evolvement through which an
individual with acquired illness or disability achieves maximal independence
within the environment. Adjustment is differentiated from adaptation in that it is
the final phase in the adaptation process enveloping acceptance of disability
and assimilation of pre-injury psychological components and post-injury
psychological components.
There are four classes of adjustment and adaptation according to Livneh
and Antonak (1997). In Class I variables deal with the disability characteristics
such as age, extent of injury, type of injury, degree of neurological impairment,
and lethality. Class II variables contain socio-demographic information


153
the comparisons between the derived constructs and the constructs of three
existing models of disability and brain injury rehabilitation.


51
The Americans with Disibilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibited
discrimination and disqualification of an individual from hire who with
reasonable accommodations could perform the tasks of the job in both the
public and private hiring sectors. It also provided for equal access to public
services and facilities causing physical barriers to be modified to enhance
accessibility. Last, it mandated that accommodations be made to enhance
access to telecommunications (Adams, 1991; Fleischer & Zames, 1998; Rubin
& Roessler, 1995; Zunker, 1998).
These more recent laws reflect changes in attitudes by people with
disabilities and the public that are reflected in the social and political models of
viewing people with disabilities. This more modern epistemology states that
disabilities are caused by the failure to remove environmental barriers, thereby
imposing obstacles and social restrictions (Crisp, 2000; Gilson & Depoy,
2000). Advocacy groups for those with disabilities strive for inclusion by
increasing awareness among businesses that making their businesses
accessible will increase revenues. However, this sentiment is opposed as
studies show that employers fear that having people with disabilities and
abnormalities in their businesses will drive consumers away (Condeluci,
1995).
Nevertheless, employers are given incentives such as tax breaks to hire
those with disabilities and are also encouraged to retrain injured employees in
order to keep their workmans compensation insurance from rising.
Employers express concerns regarding costs of special accommodations,


63
be affected (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Antonak et al., 1993). Because this
particular disability has the propensity to impact each survivor in so many ways,
determining and predicting rehabilitation needs has proved to be challenging.
Assessment techniques used to determine deficits and residual capabilities
include neurological examinations, psychiatric examinations,
neuropsychological examinations, as well as assessments administered by a
variety of specialized therapists such as speech pathologist, occupational
therapists, physical therapists, and vocational rehabilitation counselors. After
appropriate assessments have been administered, the team of treatment
professionals together with the survivor and family members construct short
term and long-term goals. Examples of common cognitive deficits include
short-term memory loss, long-term memory loss, attention deficits, slowed
executive function, and lowered intellectual functioning (McKinlay & Watkiss,
1999).
The treatment team works concordantly to improve deficits with cognitive
retraining techniques known as cognitive remediation that has consisted of
standard exercises designated by test scores, seldom tailored to the client
context (McKinlay & Watkiss, 1999). Physical, functional, recreational,
emotional, and vocational difficulties are also addressed through an array of
services provided by the rehabilitation team including orthopedic doctors,
neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech
pathologists, psychologists, counselors, and vocational counselors (Prigatano,
1999).


39
out their generative needs by raising children or being civically involved for
example. The value to be attained in the seventh stage is to demonstrate
caring for others. The eighth stage, despair and disgust versus integrity,
includes the senior years and is when individuals reflect over their lives and
decide whether their lives have been productive and worthwhile. The last value
to be obtained is wisdom (Erikson, 1982, 1997).
Marcia. James Marcia initiated research in college settings in order to
identify how young and middle adults resolve conflicts and commit to identities.
He proposed that four identity statuses exist to represent how individuals cope
with the conflicts that arise in resolving identity. These statuses, or types of
commitment, include foreclosed identity status, the identity diffuse individual,
the identity in moratorium, and individual with achieved identity. According to
Marcia (1999), individuals with foreclosed identity have not explored oneself or
relational conflicts but have made commitment to identity. Such individuals
tend to be less mature, preferring involvement stereotypical and superficial
relationships and endeavors (Marcia, 1993, 1999).
Individuals who are identity diffuse are those who have not encountered
crises and have made no commitments to identity. Such individuals have
considered different possibilities but have not engaged any particular conflict or
crisis (Marcia, 1999). Individuals with moratorium identity status have
encountered conflicts but have not made commitments to identity. Achieved
identity is the fourth ego identity status at which point individuals have
encountered crises and made commitments to identity (Marcia, 1993, 1999).


APPENDIX F '
CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF ADAPTATION TO DISABILITY
Psychosocial Maladaptation Psychosocial Adaptation
204


159
demographic variable that affects the adjustment process. How it affects the
adjustment process and its significance is perhaps better answered
quantitatively. Since all five participants have reached varying levels of
adjustment and adaptation, the assumption is that supportive family members
facilitate adjustment.
Out of the five participants, two reported having unsupportive family
members and a third participant viewed a family member as mostly supportive,
but at times unsupportive. Livneh and Antonaks model accounts for such
paradoxes by depicting the classes containing variables as overlapping and
moving circularly through time. The Psychosocial Model of Adaptation (Livneh
& Antonak, 1997) again does not give treatment teams tools to address
variances within the same variables; rather, the model simply depicts that such
variances can occur.
The last construct, Development of Coping Mechanisms, is a Class III
variable having to do with how individuals manage their interactions with the
world. Incorporated in these Class III variables are the defense mechanisms,
pre-accident psychosocial adaptation, locus of control, and attitudes that
individuals had adopted to interact within the environment. The data from this
study produced at least one coping mechanism that was common to all the
participants and that was that each used something or someone as a source
of inspiration. Another coping mechanism was that most of the participants
interpreted their accidents and injuries as a means for creating new purposes
for their lives.



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43
Inclusion and Consumerism
In practicing consumerism inclusion, it is vital to include the client in
treatment goal planning and in collecting data about perceptions, attitudes, and
experiences encountered during the rehabilitation process. Rehabilitation
programs regularly boast including the insider in the planning and
implementation goals and even agree that maximum involvement by the
consumer fosters optimal recovery (Chan et al., 1997). However, because of
previously mentioned cultural, attitudinal, political, and financial barriers, true
client/consumer involvement is, at times, an idealistic sentiment (McAlees &
Menz, 1992). In addition, previous studies that indicated high levels of client
satisfaction with rehabilitation treatment measured variables in a skewed
fashion (Bativia & Dejong, 1990; Heppner & Claiborn, 1989; Richard, 2000).
Bativia and Dejong (1990) conducted evaluative studies of past
quantitative studies that reported high levels of consumer satisfaction and
found that the large majority of such studies measured satisfaction as a single
construct on issues that were important to clinicians and providers rather than
the clients. Research that defined satisfaction as multi-dimensional had
higher rates of consumer dissatisfaction with rehabilitation services as
constructs were explored that mattered to the clients (Richard, 2000; Singh,
1990). Other research conducted by Crisp (2000) that found that perception
toward social stigma played a role in client satisfaction with rehabilitation.
Those that believed they were oppressed by society due to having a disability


220
Zunker, V. (1998). Career counseling for individuals with disabilities. In
V. Zunker (Ed.1. Career counseling: Applied concepts of life planning (5th ed.,
pp. 455-458). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks & Cole Publishers.


33
phase, the individual who has adjusted has established a renewed sense of
self-value, carries out new vocational and social goals, recognizes new and old
potentials and talents, and overcomes obstacles in pursuit of new goals
(Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
Livneh and Antonak (1997) maintained that these phases overlap and
even occur concurrently to the extent that they suggest that the process of
adjustment and adaptation occur simultaneously (Livneh, 1986; Livneh &
Antonak, 1997). After incurring a disability, adjustments begin occurring
immediately, both consciously and unconsciously, for the patient. As this
process begins, so does a reciprocal relationship between the individual with
the environment. The individual may try through trial and error to attain daily
functioning goals while the environment gives feedback (Wright, 1983). Livneh
and Antonaks Model of Adaptation to Disability (1997) attempted to portray a
model of adaptation that is more integrative than the phase models (Livneh &
Antonak, 1997) (Appendix F).
In understanding the internal and external factors affecting psychosocial
adjustment, the age of onset of disability, the individuals internal or external
locus of control, and interactions with the surrounding environment before the
accident affect how the individual adjusts after disability has incurred. To gain
a better understanding of how individuals go through the adjustment process,
psychological theories including social learning theory and developmental
theories can be viewed in conjunction with phase models of adjustment.


APPENDIX E
INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE
Adjustment of Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury: A Qualitative Inquiry
The above title describes a research project that I am conducting to fulfill
research dissertation requirements at the University of Florida. The study is to
be conducted from a qualitative point of view meaning that I will try to portray
your impressions, perceptions, and opinions as accurately as possible. This
is in order to enhance and perhaps improve the knowledge base of traumatic
brain injury rehabilitation. Your identity will remain entirely confidential.
Candidate
The candidate must be at least 20 years old and not more than 50 years
old. Two females and three males will be selected who have been through
with their rehabilitation program for at least one month and not more than 10
years. Further, the severity of injury must be mild to moderate according to
medical records.
Purpose
There are two purposes for conducting this study. One is to learn what it
is like to acquire and adjust to mild to moderate traumatic brain injury from your
perspective. The second purpose of this study is to compare the experiences
and perspectives of individuals with the traumatic brain injury with current
traumatic brain injury (TBI) and disability rehabilitation theories. The problem is
that few inquiries have been done from the perspective of the individual with
TBI. This study endeavors to obtain and understand the perspectives of the
survivor of TBI as they do through rehabilitation and adjustment processes.
Methodology
The best methodology for achieving the purpose is to conduct case
study research. Case study research as defined by Stake (1995) as an
intensive, thorough examination of the particular phenomenon in a bounded
instance.
The scope of inquiry is limited to the content of the questions in the
accompanying format for the interview. The procedure used for collecting data
202


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to acknowledge all survivors of traumatic brain injury who
courageously embrace the challenges of adjustment and survival. I thank in
particular the participants in this study-Teresa Lynn, Bernie, Taz, Lex, and
Shelley--who provided much valuable information and inspiration for me to
continue this study.
I am indebted to many friends and family members who provided
encouragement and faith to help me persevere through this process. To my
husband, Paul, gratitude in return for being so giving and supportive is not
enough. To Shannon, my daughter-to-be, someday I will thank you for giving me
the incentive and drive to complete this project.
I am also indebted to those who have taught me so much and served on
my committee. I appreciate the guidance and support of Mary Howard-Hamilton,
Rob Sherman, and Ron Spitznagel in conceptualizing and developing; and I
thank them for supporting me through this project. I also appreciate Harry
Daniels for agreeing to be a part of this project late in the process and Peter
Sherrard for helping me to keep my focus.
n


200
responsible for any counseling costs incurred. Please understand that this is
not the responsibility of the researcher or University of Florida.
This study may not provide any immediate benefits to you. The potential
benefits include broadening the knowledge base of brain injury rehabilitation;
deepening the understanding of what it is like to live with and adjust to
traumatic brain injury; and potentially enhancing ethical rehabilitation research
and methods. Should you decide that you would like to participate, your help
will be greatly appreciated.
Compensation:
There is no compensation for participating in this research.
Confidentiality:
In order to protect your confidentiality, the following measures will be
implemented. Since the interviews will be recorded with an audio-recorder, the
researcher will keep the tape in a locked filing cabinet in a locked office. When
your interview(s) have been analyzed and the case study completed, the tapes
will be destroyed by a shredder within 24 hours.
The information that you share will be used solely for the purposes of
enhancing the knowledge base in rehabilitation research. Your identity will be
kept confidential and protected to the extent provided by the law. Your
information will be assigned a same gender pen name of your first name only
with nothing to indicate your last name. For instance, if your name is Al E.
Gator, then your name in the study will be referenced as Steve. If your name
is Allison Gator, then your name will be referenced as Donna. A list
connecting your pen name with your whole name will be kept in a locked file
cabinet in a locked office. When the study is completed and the data analyzed,
the list will be destroyed within 24 hours. Your whole name will not be in any
report.
Voluntary participation:
You participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no
penalty for not participating or for deciding to withdraw from the study at any
point in time.
Whom to contact if vou have questions about the study:
1. Alice Diane Scharf-Locascio, Graduate Student (aka: Dee Dee)
University of Florida
Department of Counselor Education
1215 Norman Flail or 2912 W. University Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32611-7046 Gainesville, FL 32607
(352) 392-0731 (352) 373-6375


87
columns, scrutinized, and compared and recompared to determine common
themes. The themes were recorded and were then organized into the derived
categories. Further comparisons took place across the themes and compared
with the derived categories in order to determine constructs; five were
determined. Steps were taken to protect the identity of the participants. A same
gender pen-name was chosen or given in place of the first name of the
participant. The tapes and list with names matching the designated pen-
names were stored in a locked filing cabinet in a locked office.
Summary
Case study inquiry was used in this study to ascertain the descriptions
and interpretations of the participants. Five participants, two females and three
males between the ages of 20 and 50 with traumatic brain injury (TBI), were
selected for data collection. The purpose was to examine the perceptions of
these individuals after incurring traumatic brain injury and participating in a
rehabilitation program. This study was interested in accurately portraying the
particulars of what is like to adjust to TBI. The impressions of the participants
of their rehabilitation were of key interest. This purpose represented the
premise of intrinsic case study, one that studies a case for the sake of knowing
about that particular case (Stake, 1995). The case studies became
instrumental, however, with its second purpose (Stake, 1995). The second
purpose was to compare the perceptions and conceptions of the participants
with the constructs of TBI rehabilitation theory. Instrumental case studies were


169
Adaptation to Disability (Livneh & Antonak, 1997) is comprised of four classes
of variables that represent the constructs found. In the Empowerment Model of
Brain Injury Rehabilitation (OHara & Harrell, 1990), evidence of the constructs
is noticed as aspects of this models constructs of Acceptance, Motivation,
Skills, and External Structure. Prigatano (1999) incorporated these
constructs as elements to be addressed in cognitive remediation and
psychotherapy through individual, groups, and family education. Though the
existence of these constructs is consistent in the models and the findings of
this study, it appears that the perceptions of these survivors indicate that
something is lost during practice.
Summary
Chapter 4 presented the results of the first purpose of this study that was
to ascertain the perceptions of survivors of traumatic brain injury and to
determine common themes and constructs among them. The results of the
semi-structured interviews were presented as case studies that aimed to learn
about the experiences of the survivors during rehabilitation and adjustment to
traumatic brain injury. Then, an analysis was performed on the transcripts that
revealed themes leading to five constructs that the participants had in common.
In Chapter 5, these five constructs were then compared and contrasted with
Livneh and Antonaks (1997) Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability, OHaras
and Harrells (1990) Empowerment Model of Rehabilitation, and Prigatanos
(1999) Holistic Model of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. Elements of the
derived constructs could all be observed in the model; however, the models all


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192
tasks that were relevant to them. Park in recognizing that clients were more
successful when cognitive exercises were meaningful to them, set about the
task for having cognitive restructuring and remediation target specific, relevant
skills for survivors instead of improving general cognitive function (Carpenter,
2001).
Considering new individual and separate paradigms and maps for
traumatic brain injury rehabilitation seems to be appropriate because this is
what the survivors and their environments are forced to do. The constructs of
this study offer valuable insights into the perceptions of adjustment for
survivors of traumatic brain injury. Paradoxes were discovered within each of
the constructs and also with the interaction that occurred between rehabilitation
models designed to facilitate adjustment. No immediate solution exists for the
paradoxes, but perhaps no solution is needed. Rather, acknowledgment and
awareness that such contrasts exist and may always.
Recommendations
This research presents numerous possibilities for future research.
Researchers are encouraged to continue examining the perceptions of
survivors of traumatic brain injury to build a richer and broader base of client
contexts in adjusting to their injuries. The following recommendations are
offered for future research.
1. The adjustment processes of survivors of traumatic brain injury
should be explored further through qualitative methods. In order to
understand further the common constructs among individuals with
traumatic brain injury, this study should be repeated with populations
of survivors that come from culturally and racially diverse


APPENDIX D
INFORMED CONSENT
Department of Counselor Education
1215 Norman Hall
PO Box 117046
Gainesville, FL 32611-7046
Title of Study:
Adjustment of Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury: A Qualitative Inquiry
PLEASE READ THIS CONSENT DOCUMENT CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU
DECIDE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS STUDY.
Purpose of this research study:
The purpose of this study is gain a better understanding of what your
experiences were of acquiring and adjusting to traumatic brain injury. It is
important for rehabilitation researchers and practitioners to understand what
has happened to you from your point of view. The focus of this research will be
upon how you have adjusted to your disability emotionally, cognitively,
vocationally, and recreationally. This is because it is believed by this
researcher that you are the expert on what it is like to have and adjust to this
disability and that you have valuable information that may help rehabilitation
researchers and practitioners enhance treatment models and methods.
The second purpose of this study is to compare what is learned from
you with existing treatment models of disability and traumatic brain injury in
order to see if there are any differences.
What you will be asked to do in this study:
You will be asked to participate in an interview that will ask questions
about your injury, your rehabilitation, and your opinions about your adjustment.
These interviews will be recorded with an audiotape recorder. You have the
flexibility to answer the questions or expand on your answers. You may decide
to share stories and memories having to do with your accident and recovery.
You may decide to give your opinions and ideas on how your adjustment and
rehabilitation could have been improved. In sum, this study would like to know
as much as possible about your experiences of acquiring and adjusting to
traumatic brain injury. So you will have the opportunity to provide the researcher
with as much or little information as you think is necessary.
198


46
early forms of rehabilitation post-renaissance (Covey, 1998; Rubin & Roessler,
1995). In the 17th and 18th centuries, schools for the deaf and blind arose
indicating further efforts to create productive environments for those with certain
disabilities. This trend was a reaction to the rise of Christianity in earlier
centuries. As benevolent as such efforts were, society and Christian beliefs
still shunned those with mental and severe abnormalities. Families that had
members who were disabled tried to hide them so as not to ruin chances of
marriage for normal family members (Covey, 1998).
19th Century to Present Policies
As a result of the Social Darwinism movement in the 19th century, the
concept that self-worth correlates to the level of monetary income earned was
an engraved belief in American society (Covey, 1998; Rubin & Roessler, 1995).
The underlying philosophy was that in order to have worth in society, people
must contribute to society through work and productivity (Covey, 1998; Rubin &
Roessler, 1995). Culture in the United States placed lesser value on
contributions to society that do not earn paychecks such as childcare, home
maintenance, and home financial management, thus devaluing activities as
such. Though these were necessary and valuable services, they were viewed
as of lesser importance than contributions involving financial productivity
(Buchanan, 1990). Evidence of this sentiment was seen in public laws such
as the Smith-Fess Act of 1920 that provided rehabilitation services for those
individuals for whom there existed some vocational potential, thus eliminating
aid for those deemed unemployable (Flahn, 1987).


program, but for the sake of defining the research parameters, participants
must have been at least one year post-injury.
84
Research participants were invited to volunteer for this research with the
Invitation to Participate (Appendix E). The theoretical sampling process used
in qualitative statistics as opposed to traditional random sampling used in
quantitative research was used to select respondents. Qualitative inquiry and
theoretical sampling focuses more on the individual case of concern and
conclusions are derived using inductive reasoning (Bogden & Biklen, 1992;
Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). The volunteers were solicited by two methods. First,
the researcher presented the study at various support groups in the
southeastern United States. Second, mailings were sent to two southeastern
universities inviting individuals with traumatic brain injury to participate.
Participants were screened further by asking them if they had accepted that
they were different. The final five participants responded that they were aware
that they had changed since their accidents and that they accepted these
changes.
The focus was upon the specifics of each case examined because of
the small sample size in qualitative case study research. After choosing the
participants from the pool of respondents to the Invitation to Participate
(Appendix E), meeting times for the interviews were arranged. During the
meeting times, participants read and signed the Informed Consent form
(Appendix D), then copies were made and sent to the participants later.


Case Study 4: Lex 109
Case Study 5: Shelley 114
Themes and Categories of Participants 120
Constructs of Participants 147
Summary 152
5 COMPARISON AND CONTRAST OF CONSTRUCTS AND
MODELS 154
Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability 154
Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability Model and the Constructs 156
Empowerment Model 160
The Empowerment Model and the Constructs 162
Prigatanos Holistic Model of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 165
Holistic Model of Rehabilitation and the Constructs 167
Summary 169
6 DISCUSSION 171
Introduction 171
Review of Results 171
Limitations 179
Implications 180
Theoretical Considerations 184
Recommendations 192
APPENDICES
A INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 195
B FEEDBACK FORM 1 196
C FEEDBACK FORM 2 197
D INFORMED CONSENT 198
E INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE 202
F CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF ADAPTATION TO DISABILITY 204
G EMPOWERMENT MODEL 205
H THEMES AND CATEGORIES OF PARTICIPANTS 207
I CONSTRUCTS AND MODELS 209
IV


167
Holistic Model of Rehabilitation and the Constructs
The Family Support construct that having supportive family members
foster adjustment and goal attainment for survivors supports Prigatanos
inclusion of a Family Education component in rehabilitation. Prigatano
carries family inclusion a step farther and endeavors to provide education and
training in order to increase understanding and adjustment both within the
survivor and the environment. Prigatano recognized the importance of
including supportive family members in the rehabilitation process because
many times these are to become or were the survivors immediate
environment. The data supported this in the Family Support construct. The
data delineate farther by stressing that all outsiders, that is, both rehabilitation
professionals and family members, need to understand that the survivor
cannot return to a previous state. In plain language, the survivor rarely returns
to family members as the individual they once knew. Therefore, the adjustment
process is for family members, too, as both the survivor and family are likely to
find that all of their needs and goals have changed.
The Sense of Being Reborn construct does not support this model
directly despite the fact thata both Prigatano and this derived construct address
frustration and confusion. The Sense of Being Reborn construct presents
frustration and confusion about having to relearn fundamental tasks and
identity. Prigatano suggests that frustration, confusion, and learning new
identity should be addressed through cognitive restoration and restructuring
exercises. Prigatanos model seems to conceptualize the variable of learning


93
from high school and delayed her plans to enter the military because she and
her family experienced several major losses that year. Both of her
grandmothers died that year, and then her mother incurred cancer. She
decided to postpone her plans and stay home to help her family and mother.
She worked two jobs, one as a retail customer service associate and the other
as t-shirt printer. When her mother improved later in 1998, she decided to go
ahead and commit to the military in January of 1999 and pursue her plans of
becoming a registered nurse while in the military.
On November 11, 1998, Teresa Lynns small blue pickup truck was rear-
ended and pushed into oncoming traffic, crashing head on into a larger full-size
brown pickup truck, demolishing both vehicles. She sustained a broken neck,
jaw, breast bone, several ribs, left knee, left hip, left shin bone, pelvic bone, and
left ankle. She also had a bruised heart, lungs, fractured right hip, and a
traumatic brain injury. Her right eye muscle was strained because of the
impact of the accident, causing it to stray. She was transported from the scene
of the accident by helicopter to the hospital where she was in a coma for
approximately 3 weeks.
She indicates remembering having talks and being with her deceased
grandmothers, the driver of the other vehicle, and angels while she was in a
coma. She learned much later in court that the driver died the day of the
accident. I didnt know until later that he had died that day; I guess my family
was trying to protect me, she explained. Teresa Lynn was fined $500 for her
vehicle crossing the double line causing a fatality, and her license was


181
reciprocally affect each other within their environment, the effects of traumatic
brain injury result in changes for the entire family system, not just the survivor.
It is important for rehabilitation team members to include family members in
treatment and to educate family members about changes and focusing on the
efficacy of the survivor, not personal agendas or those of the rehabilitation
team. The survivor and family must make decisions separately and together
about individual and family goals. Then negotiations must be made after
differences are discovered between survivor goals and family goals in order to
meet the needs of the survivor and family.
The construct Coping Mechanisms presented two strategies used by
the participants to integrate the reality of acquiring a brain injury with them. One
strategy described by the participants included using their accidents for
defining new purposes for their lives. All of the participants re-framed their
accidents as a good thing that helped them to finding new meaning and goals
for their lives. Also, all of the participants used a source of inspiration such as
a person, poem, or spirituality to persevere and continue striving for their goals.
In some instances, the two were combined. For instance, all but one of the
participants named spirituality or a spiritual encounter that helped them to
redefine their lives.
Teresa Lynn even stated that she thought that a spiritual guidance
component should be a part of every rehabilitation program. She stated that it
was not enough to have a chapel present in her rehabilitation facility; she
wanted spiritual counseling. Here lies one of the dilemmas in treating and


85
The amount of time spent with participants fluctuated between 3 to 4
hours. An interview was scheduled with each participant that lasted for
approximately 70 to 90 minutes each. Participants reviewed and provided
feedback for their respective case studies to ensure validity and reliability on
Feedback Form 1 (Appendix B) at a second meeting during which participants
read their case studies. Had a second interview become necessary, the
participants would have scheduled a third meeting and would have been
interviewed a second time, indicating the feedback on Feedback Form 2
(Appendix C). All five participants indicated that they were satisfied with their
case studies.
Data Collection and Analysis
Participants received a copy of the questions intended for data collection during
semi-structured interviews (see Appendix A). The interview was semi-
structured in the sense that the interviewee had the flexibility to expand or
deviate from the questions to a reasonable extent. The questions initially were
open-ended. For example, what was your life like before your accident? What
was your rehabilitation experience like? How are your rehabilitation goals the
same or different as your rehabilitation teams goals? Describe your overall
experience of adjusting to traumatic brain injury. (See Appendix A.)
Subsequent questions and topics revealed additional information
leading to a more thorough understanding of relationships, coping
mechanisms, helps and hindrances in adjusting to their injuries that existed for
the participants. Such questions remained open-ended but were more


79
as to incorporate pre-injury and post-injury variables acclimating together to
achieve adjustment.
A second theory, the Empowerment Rehabilitation Model (OHara &
Harrell, 1991), maintains that all of the foundational domains-cognitive,
emotional, physical, and interpersonal-must reintegrate at the pace desired by
the client. In doing so, the rehabilitation professional facilitates movement from
victim to survivor and fosters empowerment (OHara & Harrell, 1991) (Appendix
G).
The model is presented nonhierarchically as EXTERNAL STRUCTURE
+ MOTIVATION + INFORMATION + ACCEPTANCE + SKILLS = EMPOWERMENT
(OHara & Harrell, 1991) (Appendix G). The theory maintains that, should a
component be eliminated or dismissed, the goal of empowerment is less likely
to be achieved.
George Prigatano (1995, 1999) offered components for a Holistic
Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Program as development of a therapeutic
atmosphere and bond between treating therapist teams and client, cognitive
retraining, small-group cognitive retraining hour, cognitive group therapy,
individualized cognitive retraining, psychotherapy, family involvement and
education, and the protected work trial. He maintained that awareness and
judgment need to be restored with cognitive remediation and treatment
(Prigatano (1999).


110
am in getting to know people and having fun. He presents himself as being
comfortable and confident in his interactions as well as congenial. Lex played
sports as a youth and had many interests, one of them being the environment.
He obtained his Bachelor of Science in marine biology from Eckerd College in
St. Petersburg and was accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine at
University of Florida in 1991. He was in an accident that left him with a brain
injury in his first semester of his veterinary school program.
Lex also states that his interests have changed somewhat. He is more
interested in doing mental work than physical work. He once enjoyed working
on cars, building things, and doing things with his hands. He explains that he
also loves nature and currently is pursuing his Master of Science degree in
natural resources and environment. He believes that nature is God and God is
nature, and the way we exploit the environment is utterly stupid. He plans on
being finished with coursework within the next semester and is working on his
thesis, Animal Use of Highway Underpasses, and will be using tracking
devices and cameras to track black bears for 2 years. He explains that black
bears adapt to the underpasses, but they tend to get hit in blind spots on the
highway such as on curves or hills. Lex believes he has made considerable
progress toward goals that his rehabilitation team predicted he never would
make again.
In 1991 Lex and some friends attended a university football game. They
had been drinking and Lex admits that he was inebriated when his accident
happened. He backtracked and explained that he and one of his work-out


TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ii
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Statement of the Problem 3
Purpose of the Study 7
Definition of Terms 8
Summary 10
2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE 12
Disability 12
Psychosocial Adjustment to Disability 20
Rehabilitation 40
Policies and Legislation 44
Traumatic Brain Injury 53
Summary 71
3 METHODOLOGY 73
Research Questions 75
Purpose 77
Problem 80
Research Design 82
Participants 83
Data Collection and Analysis 85
Summary 87
4 CASE STUDIES AND CONTRUCTS 89
Case Study 1: Teresa Lynn 90
Case Study 2: Bernie 97
Case Study 3: Taz 102
m


CHAPTER 5
COMPARISON AND CONTRAST OF CONSTRUCTS AND MODELS
Chapter 4 contained five case studies and common themes, categories,
and constructs derived from semi-structured interviews conducted with
survivors of traumatic brain injury. Examination of the congruence between
theory and the survivors perspectives is the next step and may present two
distinct possibilities. The constructs discovered in this research could reveal
that gaps between client and brain injury rehabilitation theory are consistent
and remarkable. This would indicate a need for traumatic brain injury (TBI)
rehabilitation theory and practice to incorporate the additional constructs of the
client with TBI. Incongruence indicates that current theories used to rehabilitate
populations with traumatic brain injury may not be appropriate and need further
exploration (Crisp, 1993). Second, the findings may be compatible with
existing theoretical constructs, thereby providing qualitative validation.
Psychosocial Adaptation to Disability
Various stage and phase models exist purporting that adjustment to
trauma and disability happens as the individuals enduring such traumas
experience certain emotional reactions. Livneh and Antonak (1997) developed
a conceptual model that incorporates these emotional phases but maintain
that the process of adjustment is multi-dimensional rather than linear. Livneh
154


44
were less satisfied with rehabilitation treatment than those who de-
emphasized their disabilities (Crisp, 2000).
In determining whether clients are satisfied with rehabilitation goals and
treatment plans, an obvious source to turn to is the client (Richard, 2000).
Rehabilitation alleges to rely heavily upon the concepts of client efficacy derived
from the teachings of Bandura (1977) who purported that individuals, given the
right conditions, strive toward their expected optimal selves and functioning
(Caeser, 1997; Richard, 2000). In remaining true to the premises and
purposes of rehabilitation to return individuals to optimal states of functioning,
expectations of the client must be observed and included (Chan et al., 1997;
Richard, 2000; Wright, 1983). In summary, the concept of inclusion begins
during implementation of rehabilitation or habilitation treatment goals.
Policies and Legislation
Ancient Policies
Historically, attitudes toward those with disabilities were unforgiving,
uncharitable, and inhumane as religions and philosophies of many early
societies prevented positive attitudes toward inhabitants with disabilities. The
disabled were those people whose functioning deviated significantly from the
majority population in the areas of intellectual functioning, physical functioning,
physical appearance, and behaviors (Covey, 1998; Rubin & Roessler, 1995).
Such individuals were shunned, ostracized, and considered liabilities by many
early societies. In some earlier and present societies, those with disabilities


56
were the physical repercussions recorded but also the psychosocial sequella.
His family and friends described his personality and behaviors as being so
different that he did not seem like the same person (Hill, 1999; Stuss, Gow &
Ross Hetherington, 1992).
Primary injuries
Gages injury was localized in that a railroad spike became lodged in his
frontal lobe. His injury was also considered to be a penetrating injury in that a
foreign object penetrated his brain matter. Examples of other penetrating
injuries are bullet wounds, along with any other foreign object that penetrates
the skull and brain tissues. These are also examples of primary injuries, those
injuries that occur immediately upon impact. Primary injuries can be focal,
such as Gages injury, or diffuse affecting brain tissue widespread, also known
as diffuse axonal injury (Burke & Ordia, 2000; Wehman & Kreutzer, 1990).
Axons are the connecting cells in the brain that are believed to be the
transmitters of neurochemicals that ultimately result in autonomic actions, non-
autonomic actions, and behavior (Graham, 1999). Other types of focal injuries
include skull fractures, intracranial hematomas, cortical contusions,
lacerations, and penetrating wounds.
Skull fractures are associated with increased risk for brain injury,
hematoma, or cranial nerve damage but can occur without neurological
consequence. A hematoma is intracranial hemorrhaging, bleeding in the
brain, that can cause further damage due to the pressure build-up within the
enclosed casing of the skull (Burke & Ordia, 2000). This is the leading cause


76
This study targeted the perspectives of people with traumatic brain injury.
The aim was to gain an understanding of the experiences of survivors during
the rehabilitation and adjustment processes. Another goal was to compare the
experiences of survivors of traumatic brain injury with existing disability and
traumatic brain injury theory. In order to meet the goals of this study, it was
necessary to include the context and its details rather than objectifying the
goals with a null hypothesis (Campbell, 1995; Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996).
The individual milieus, consequential interactions, and the perceptions
of the participants provide germane and rich information for the researcher.
The process of collecting data from a qualitative viewpoint draws from a post
positivist philosophy called phenomenology (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996).
Phenomenology is the study of understanding the participants experiences
within context; accordingly, the researcher must interact with participants in the
environment of the latter in order to collect data (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996; Stake,
1995). The post-positivist movement arose as social and behavioral
researchers realized that nullifying the context also nullifies contextual validity
and reliability.
In the 19th century Comte introduced the study of humans through
objective, scientific methods, fostering positivist thought in the study of human
behavior (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). As the positivist trend developed, a few of
the students opposed its dehumanizing effects including Dilthey, Kant, and
Buber (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). Under Diltheys tutelage, Buber offered that
the research of people and human behavior must not be reduced to studying I-


APPENDIX I
CONSTRUCTS AND MODELS


199
After this interview, the researcher will perform an analysis of the
information and provide what is called a case study, or a thorough
representation of the information that you provided. It is supposed to provide
an accurate account of your experiences. You will be given the opportunity to
review your case study and respond to it. If you believe that information needs
to be corrected or information needs to be added, you will be able to indicate
such.
In this instance, you will be asked to participate in a second and final
interview. The researcher will then perform another analysis of the new
information and old information and revise your case study. This is all to
ensure that your story is accurately told.
Time required:
Your time commitment is 1 to 2 hours per interview. An hour should be
added for your case study review time so that you have time to read it. The total
time should you decide that a second interview is necessary is about 4 hours
or less.
Risks and benefits:
Most research with human participants contains some risks. This
research is designed to keep the risks to a minimum. Since the interviews will
be recorded with an audio-recorder, the hazard exists of someone other than
the researcher hearing the tape. In order to prevent and reduce this risk, the
researcher will keep the tape in a locked filing cabinet in a locked office. When
your interview(s) have been analyzed and the case study completed, the tapes
will be destroyed by a shredder within 24 hours.
Another potential risk is that of confidentiality. The information that you
share will be used solely for the purposes of enhancing the knowledge base in
rehabilitation research. Your identity will be kept confidential and protected to
the extent provided by the law. Your information will be assigned a same
gender pen name of your first name only with nothing to indicate your last
name. For instance, if your name is Al E. Gator, then your name in the study will
be referenced as Steve. If your name is Allison Gator, your name will be
referenced as Donna. A list connecting your pen name with your whole name
will be kept in a locked file cabinet in a locked office. When the study is
completed and the data analyzed, the list will be destroyed within 24 hours.
Your whole name will not be in any report.
A last potential risk is that you will be asked to recall information about
yourself that may be sensitive. You may experience painful memories of your
recollection of acquiring a traumatic brain injury. While all precautions will be
taken to prevent this in the interview, it still may occur. You may decide at any
time should this happen, to withdraw from the study with no consequence.
Should you desire counseling services to address these circumstances, a list
of three counseling resources will be provided upon request. You are


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Nalkmus, D., Booth, B., & Kodimer, C. (1980). Rehabilitation of the head
injured adult: Comprehensive cognitive management. Downev. CA:
Professional Staff Association of Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, Inc.
National Head Injury Foundation (NHIF). (nd). National head injury
foundation fact sheet. Southborouqh, MA.
Noble, J., Jr., Conley, R., Laski F., & Noble, M. (1990). Issues and
problems in the treatment of traumatic brain injury. Journal of Disability Policy
Studies. 1(2), 19-45.
OHara, C., & Harrell, M. 1991T Rehabilitation with brain injury survivors:
An empowerment approach. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers.
Oliver, M. (1996T Understanding disability: From theory to practice.
London: Macmillan.


21
neediness and incompetence, and those with disabilities are seen as needing
support and services. Therefore, it becomes easy for those with disabilities to
be perceived negatively (Fine & Asch, 1988). The message is evident that
dependency is not valued in our society; hence, public perception devalues
those with disabilities. Paradoxically, those who are independent and self-
made are supported at one time with either or both family and government
support. Further, even those who are perceived as successful may have
trouble in areas such as housekeeping, shopping, and managing finances
and therefore may seek assistance (Rubin & Roessler, 1995).
For people with disability, survival becomes a process of assimilating
information from the environment, including devaluation and residual
capabilities into psychosocial adjustment and eventually adaptation. As the
nondisabled public perceives people with disabilities as less valuable, those
who are afflicted with disability absorb and either reject or accept the
devaluation into self-concept (Rubin & Roessler, 1995; Wright, 1983).
Residual capabilities are those abilities that are unaffected within the individual
with incurred disability, whereas the affected domains are those that are
disabled (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). While the focus was upon incorporating
disability into self-concept, past models of adjustment to disability used the
terms adjustment and adaptation to disability interchangeably such as the
conceptual models proposed by Wright (1983), Vash (1981), and Shontz (1975,
1984).


19
personal responsibility and independence are valued, negative public opinion
and perception toward those with abnormalities carries a price. People with
disabilities are left to interpret and incorporate their environments opinions
about them as the process of adjustment.
Current Disability Models
One model of disability conceptualization is the medical model of
disability. The medical model views disability as a permanent biological
impediment causing those with disabilities to be less capable than those
without disabilities (Gilson & Depoy, 2000). This paradigm sees the problem
to be addressed by rehabilitation services as within the individual (Gilson &
Depoy, 2000). The medical model encompasses the premises of
rehabilitation. As such, rehabilitation professionals endeavor to restore
individuals with disabilities and foster recovery to a state of desirable
functionality (Gilson & Depoy, 2000).
The social model of disability sees individuals with disabilities not as in
need of restoration or repair but as individuals who add to the diversity of the
human condition (Gilson & Depoy, 2000). This philosophy sets goals of
removing environmental and social barriers, as the problem exists within the
social context and not within the individual with disability. While the shift toward
this paradigm exists, it still competes with the medical model in rehabilitation
contexts (Hill, 1999; Oliver, 1996).
The political model of disability indicates that it is a barrier preventing
people from working. As such, the focus is on people with disabilities and their


148
their families believed in them and that they could surpass the expectations of
the medical and rehabilitation teams. Two participants had family members
who were not supportive.
Sense of Rebirth
All five participants described the feeling that they have had to start all
over again with life. Each of the participants described their experiences of
having to relearn how to toilet train, walk, talk, think, and feel all over again. In
relearning to think again, most described changes such as I was once good
with English, now I am better with mathematics. All participants also
described changes in preferences and personality styles. For instance, four
participants stated that they were more outgoing before their accidents, and
now they are more introverted and reserved. One stated that she was
introverted before her accident, and now she is more outgoing.
Development of Coping Mechanisms
Various means of coping with the changes brought on by their injuries
and striving toward new goals were described. All of the participants told how
they developed a purpose or mission for their lives as a result of their
accidents. Three of the five participants specifically described conversations
they had with God or angels while in a coma. From these divine conversations
came the development of meaning for the changes with a new capacity to
accomplish these tasks, whereas before the accomplishment of such tasks
was either not possible or not meaningful. For instance, one participant states


REFERENCES 210
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 221
v


17
important to understand that a single definition of identity that is applicable to
all contexts is nonexistent (Kegan, 1982). However, the present study partially
focused upon individual self-concepts and differences perceived before a
disability versus after a disability as influenced by their rehabilitation
processes. For the purpose of this study, identity is defined as a combination
or cluster of experiences which one incorporates within oneself to form a
conceptual whole or complete self image within ones current context (Rangell,
1994).
Disability and Stigmatization
Adventitious disability necessitates that clients learn or relearn to
accomplish goals and daily tasks using residual capabilities (Rubin &
Roessler, 1995; Wright, 1983). After acquiring a disability or handicap due to
accident or illness, normal developmental processes are disrupted. As this
happens, the individual with the incurred disability begins an interchange with
the environment that shapes subsequent psychosocial development. How
people see themselves with their respective disabilities is affected by self
appraisal and societal stigma. A stigma refers to the appraisal that society
gives to phenomena such as race, religion, sexual preference, disease, and
disability (Deloach, 1994; Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Olkin, 1999). Should the
individual belong to the same groups that most of the population belong to,
then the individual is generally accepted as being normal and nonstigmatized
(DeLoach, 1994; Olkin, 1999). However, should the individual possess traits
that deviate from what is considered and accepted as normal, the normal


45
were and are believed disdained by God, hence earning His wrath and
damnation (Covey, 1998; Olkin, 1999; Rubin & Roessler, 1995).
The early Greeks placed importance upon body-soul unity, connoting a
damaged soul if the body is damaged or abnormal in some manner. Eugenics
was practiced, leaving children and adults with abnormalities to be eliminated
by the elements propagating stronger, more normal individuals (Covey, 1998;
Mackelprang & Salsgiver, 1996). The Romans tolerated those with mental
disabilities in only the elite upper classes while all others were considered
burdens and were discarded, though treatment receptacles did exist (Covey,
1998; Rubin & Roessler, 1995). Perceptions of those with mental disability in
ancient and medieval were that the individual is inhabited by demons or the
devil. During the 16th century, attitudes shifted from that of the individual being
possessed by demons to the individual being sick (Covey, 1998). Through the
rise of Christianity and Catholicism to the present, the church as socially
affected public perception of people with disabilities (Covey, 1998).
Renaissance Policies
Housing for those with abnormalities began to arise as asylums in
Europe. The public was charged admission for a glance of an individual with
the disability in these asylums, ancestor to the circus (Rubin & Roessler,
1995). Conditions of the asylums were often unsanitary and treatment of the
inhabitants was less than humane (Covey, 1998; Rubin & Roessler, 1995).
Training for those with mental retardation existed in the 17th century and
documentation of teaching the deaf can also be found, marking evidence of


131
wearing a helmet. The following paragraphs describe the themes derived from
his experiences.
Family. Taz states that his parents and sisters were instrumental in
helping him to return to a normal lifestyle. He explained that his ex-wife had
signed papers to have him committed to a nursing home because she could
not handle the behavioral changes that occurred as a result of his injuries. If it
were up to her, I would have wasted away in some old folks home by now,
according to him. His parents and sisters prevented this move and helped him
to learn to live independently. He is thankful for his family but admits that he
does not show it the way he feels he should. I should be nicer to them. ... In
fact, they will be surprised to read how I really feel about them. I guess I
shouldnt give them such a hard time, he states.
Coping mechanisms. One of his coping mechanisms is to use his
sons as sources of inspiration. He explains that while in a coma, he had
conversations with God and that one of the topics of these conversations was
that God wanted him to focus more on being a good father and to calm down.
Hence, Taz has done so. Taz explains that he was a regular brawler before his
accident and had a tendency to get into a lot of fights. As he puts it, I was a
real hell-raiser. Taz feels fortunate that he has found a psychiatrist that he
respects and can talk to about his adjustment issues. He has felt very
supported by this psychiatrist and trusts his judgment. In addition, he also
likes the medication that his psychiatrist prescribes for him because it helps
him to keep his temper under control. He also accepts full responsibility for his


104
world. Before this he was the Director of Engineering at a hospital in a larger
metropolitan area. He indicates that he was in charge of numerous employees
and all of the maintenance operations with a $6 million operating budget. He
states that this was a high-pressure job that required him to take blood
pressure medication. Before this he was a drywall specialist at Disney World,
with his duties consisting of drywall and carpentry work. One of his favorite
jobs was a construction job, having been hired as a pipe layer but actually
functioning as the backhoe operator. He explained that while he was hired as
a pipe layer, he primarily drove the backhoe, as the foreman who usually did
this was an alcoholic who spent most of his time shaking and drinking.
Taz has attended as many as 10 colleges and has obtained numerous
certificates and his Associate of Arts and Science degrees in electrical
engineering. He has attended several schools pursuing a bachelor of science
degree but never finished. He is thankful that he did not receive his bachelors
in electrical engineering because now he is afraid to do this type of work. He
has lost the ability to complete detailed tasks required for this type of work.
Thank God I never finished my bachelors because I couldnt do it now, he
acknowledges.
He was once outgoing and active having many friends and enjoying a
good party anytime. He married his high school sweetheart when he was 17
years old with whom he had one son, now 17 years old. He divorced after 9
years of marriage and remarried 2 months after his divorce. This second 9-
year marriage produced two more sons. His second wife divorced him


109
there and perhaps are a bit improved now. He sees them as using his new
disability as the explanation for any adverse qualities he has, whereas he feels
these negative qualities were always there. Further, he wishes to put distance
between himself and his parents, who perhaps over-involve themselves
because they are afraid of losing him again. At the same time, he is thankful
for his familys support and attributes his successes so far to them, his
psychiatrist, and his own perseverance.
Taz takes full responsibility for his accident. He realizes that his own
decisions are to blame, and he attributes his adjustment to this. He also
names friends who have been sources of encouragement and inspiration for
him. These friends helped him to keep going and trying when he did not feel
like it. One of my buddies helped me get this job and even though I dont like
it, it has helped me begin succeeding and finding my way out, he explains.
Case Study 4: Lex
Lex arrived early for his interview dressed casually, as he had ridden his
bicycle. He is approximately 32 years old, 6 feet tall, with dark, medium-short
hair and dark eyes. He is the oldest of two sons and grew up in the Canal
Zone of the Central America. As a youth and young adult, he suffered from
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He states that he also was very smart.
He made good grades all the way through school but just could not handle
sitting in the classroom. He was always outgoing and the life of a party. He
describes himself as more reserved and focused since his accident. As he
puts it, I am much more interested in concentrating on what I am doing than I


168
new identity as a restoration process. The data from this study support
restoration and restructuring but suggest that it must be individualized to who
the survivor is, not was.
The Development of Coping Mechanisms and Emotional Phases of
Adjustment constructs also are addressed by either cognitive remediation
exercises or psychotherapeutic intervention. Mentioned earlier are two
emotions identified by Prigatano (1999, 1995) that he observes survivors with
traumatic brain injury to experience. The Emotional Phases of Adjustment
construct identified anger and grief as emotions common to the five
participants. Last, Prigatanos model seems to suggest that coping
mechanisms are best developed by the rehabilitation team and hopefully with
the client.
Both Prigatanos Holistic Model and the datas Contextual
Rehabilitation construct support that an understanding of the individual
survivors context must occur to best facilitate adjustment. The accounts from
the participants indicate that the establishment of an optimal therapeutic
relationship did not occur for most of them. While both the data and this model
support the importance of establishing a trusting, caring therapeutic
relationship and understanding the perceptions and milieus of survivors, the
data suggest that neither happened in practice.
The data indicate that the constructs derived from the raw data
transcripts are present in the models of rehabilitation. Each of the models
contains elements of the constructs. For instance, the Psychosocial Model of


36
The social stigma caused by a disability affects identity resolution
(Susman, 1994; Wright, 1983; Vash, 1981). The response by the environment
to the disability is many times negative or deviant (Strauser, 1995; Susman,
1994). Barring denial that would hamper achieving recovery goals, the
expectations of efficacy may be altered and changed by four things according to
Bandura (1986). These include performance accomplishment, vicarious
experiences, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal (Bandura, 1977).
Performance accomplishment is simply the mastering of tasks set before the
individual. The achievement of such fosters positive expectations for further
achievement to ensue (Bandura, 1977). Vicarious experiences are the
observations of role models with similar conditions as the individual (Bandura,
1977). Once individuals observe other similar individuals accomplishing
tasks, safety and the expectancy of positive outcome become possible
(Bandura, 1977). Verbal persuasions are the suggestions and empowerment
of individuals to succeed, thereby increasing efficacy expectation (Strauser,
1995). Finally, emotional arousal, if negative, adversely affects positive efficacy
expectations and visa versa (Bandura, 1977).
Therefore, rehabilitation interventions should focus on fostering high
efficacy expectations and providing compatible interventions (Strauser, 1995).
Further, should lowered self-evaluation and lowered efficacy expectations exist,
then interventions such as group counseling and empowerment techniques
should be employed by the rehabilitation professionals involved (Strauser,
1995).


182
counseling populations with disabilities. In the past, the medical, counseling,
and rehabilitation professions have regarded spirituality and faith as values
and have shied away from including this as a common component in practice
(Lane, 1991). Ethically, rehabilitation programs cannot impose values such as
religion or spirituality on clients and patients. More recently however, attention
has been given in the literature to spirituality and faith as a component of
wholeness and wellness concepts, but few rehabilitation programs actually
incorporate such into treatment (Lane, 1991; Stanard, Sandhu, & Painter,
2000). Spirituality is recognized by a growing number of counseling sectors
and journals, but unless it falls under the auspices of some other title or
component, it is often not a part of rehabilitation programs. Appropriate
counseling interventions must be developed for inclusion in such programs
(Stanard, Sandhu, & Painter, 2000).
The construct Emotional Phases of Adjustment revealed that anger
and grief are possibly steps that facilitate ultimate adjustment of acquired
injuries. All five participants conveyed having experienced these emotions
because of deficits and losses accepted and caused by their brain injuries.
They experienced memories progressively of being able to conduct various
activities more easily before becoming injured. Further inquiry might have
determined whether the participants who were dissatisfied and angry at their
rehabilitation programs were experiencing anger as part of the adjustment
processes. It is possible that participants targeted their anger and grief about
their accidents toward their rehabilitation providers. If this were the case, a


8
Therefore, the first purpose was to examine through inquiries of actual
survivors what it means to inquire and adjust to traumatic brain injury. Second,
the constructs uncovered through qualitative, semi-structured interviews were
compared and contrasted with three existing models of disability and brain
injury rehabilitation.
Definition of Terms
Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is a restorative process that strives to
return an injured individual to optimum functioning and maximize the potential
for independent living (Rubin & Roessler, 1995). Attempts are made to restore
an individual to independent functioning after acquisition of an injury or illness
in an effort to achieve independent living. A person who has become disabled
or handicapped builds upon premorbid, preexisting information while
incorporating the imposed disability into this knowledge base. This process
comprises the rehabilitation that ideally develops strategies to overcome
societal and self-imposed obstacles (Maki & Riggar, 1997).
Habilitation. Individuals, whether disabled or not, spend their initial
years building a repertoire of knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and
experiences. The individual participates in a learning process and foundation
building process known as habilitation (Maki & Riggar, 1997; Wright, 1983).
This foundational knowledge is used as a reference point during rehabilitation
treatment planning (Wright, 1983).
Traumatic Brain Injury. For the purposes of this study, traumatic brain
injury was viewed purely as blunt trauma to the head causing damage to the


165
coping mechanisms that foster adjustment such as empowerment, efficacy,
and motivation.
It is important that these variables exist in the process of adjustment to
traumatic brain injury. The construct Contextual Rehabilitation suggests that it
is more important that the rehabilitation teams listen to the individual contexts
of survivors and not disempower them or limit them. While both the data and
the Empowerment Model indicate that developing treatment plans should
include survivor input if not authorship, the data indicate that this notion is not
practiced. At least four of the five participants described their rehabilitation
experiences as disappointing because they felt that rehabilitation created
limitations and provided little inspiration for them. Listening to client goals and
empowering them may seem unrealistic to some rehabilitation providers, as
the survivor of traumatic brain injury may not have recovered awareness fully. In
such instances, the model endorses education and practicing decision
making skills that are realistic. In instances when client goals are unrealistic,
counseling strategies are implemented concurrent with empowerment
techniques that specifically encourage clients to endorse realistic goals. This
model provides for strategies that address various problems throughout the
adjustment process.
Priaatanos Holistic Model of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation
George Prigatano (1995, 1999), a practitioner and researcher in brain
injury rehabilitation, developed a Holistic Model of Neuropsychological
Rehabilitation that maintains that awareness and judgment need to be


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Alice Diane Scharf-Locascio, also known as Dee Dee, daughter of
Richard Shreve Scharf and Judy Owens-Earl, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on
December 16, 1964. She attended public schools in Valdosta, Georgia,
graduating from Valdosta High School in June 1983. In August 1983, she
entered Valdosta State College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in
Psychology in 1988. In 1989 she entered the University of Florida to obtain a
Master of Health Science in Rehabilitation Counseling degree and graduated
in December 1990.
After working as a rehabilitation consultant and therapist in south
Georgia until 1994, she entered the University of Florida, Counselor Education
Department doctoral program in Mental Health Counseling. While working
toward her doctorate, she became licensed as a mental health counselor and
has worked as a rehabilitation consultant and licensed therapist in north
central Florida. She married Paul A. Locascio in 1999 and is expecting her first
child in May 2001. She is currently working on publishing an anger
management model to be used in group therapy with children and adolescents
and is involved with implementing this model with juvenile male adolescents.
She expects to graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in mental health
counseling from the University of Florida in August 2001.
221


78
not merely as functions of or in opposition of an overall adjustment process but
as facilitators of the process (Liveneh & Antonak, 1997).
A second purpose of this study was to compare the experiences of the
participants with existing models in brain injury and disability adjustment. In
doing so, any differences that arise between the constructs derived by the
participants and the constructs of the existing theories may address the
appropriateness of such treatment modalities. The three models that were
chosen to compare with the results of the case studies conceptualized
components of empowerment and understanding client contexts. The first
model applies to any disability population, while the last two are specific to
traumatic brain injury.
Livneh and Antonak (1997) developed a conceptual model of adaptation
to disability. They viewed adjustment to be a subset of adaptation, whereas
adaptation is the continuous evolvement and dynamic overall process through
which an individual with acquired illness or disability reaches an optimal state
of congruence with the environment. Adjustment delineates from adaptation,
according to Livneh and Antonak, in that it is the final phase in the adaptation
process encompassing acceptance and reintegration of pre-injury
psychological components and post-injury psychological components (Livneh
& Antonak, 1997). For the purpose of examining the rehabilitation processes
that embrace these components, this model is included (Appendix F). This
model depicts four classes of variables that overlap and progress circularly so


188
find love (Erikson, 1982, 1997). The seventh stage, generativity versus
stagnation, encompasses the middle adult years and is characterized by a
want to give or teach others for the greater societal good. The last stage,
despair and disgust versus integrity, individuals in their senior years reflect on
their lives and decide whether they have been productive and worthwhile
(Erikson, 1982, 1997).
As each participant was an adult when injured, each was thrust from the
adult stages of either intimacy versus isolation or generativity versus stagnation
to basic trust versus mistrust. The participants were forced by their injuries to
learn to do fundamental tasks such as toilet train, walk, talk, eat, and drink.
Later participants learn to complete tasks completed in early childhood years
such as writing and spelling. Even later, participants are faced with the
challenge of learning to complete tasks congruent with Eriksons adolescent
and adulthood stages again, but with the addition of the changes that their
injury has brought.
Marcias adult identity development model presents stages differently in
terms of having encountered crises and committing to identity. Recall that the
four stages outlined in Marcias model consisted of foreclosed identity, diffused
identity, moratorium, and achieved identity. Marcia (1999) stated that
individuals with foreclosed identity have not encountered significant conflicts,
but have made commitment to identity. Individuals with diffused identity not
encountered crises and have made no commitments to identity. Individuals
with moratorium identity status have experienced conflicts, but have not made


11
injury who had undergone formal rehabilitation of some type. Third, the
participants answered researcher questions in an honest manner. Fourth, the
data obtained on each participant were independent of data obtained on other
participants. Finally, all participants were aware and cognizant of their
participation in this study, each having consented to participating independent
of coercion or persuasion by the author or family members regardless of
whether the traumatic brain injury was categorized as mild, moderate, or
severe.
Chapter 2 reviews the literature in several categories including disability,
adjustment, history and legislation regarding disabilities, rehabilitation,
traumatic brain injury, and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. Chapter 3
outlines the methodology used to collect and analyze the data while the
following chapters present the findings and discuss the results and
implications of this study. Chapters 4 and 5 present the results, and Chapter 6
discusses the findings and recommendations.


141
he has many positive things to say about his internal medicine doctor. He
explains that his life turned around when he met this doctor. Within 5 minutes,
the physician pinpointed his problem, and Lex no longer feels like his mind
and soul are trapped. Rather, he is able to integrate the physical and mental
components of himself so that he may achieve his mission.
Spirituality. Lex was once an atheist. He described himself as having
been a scientist who believed that God is nature, much as the American
Indians believed. After his accident he was in a coma during which he had
conversations with God. I know it seems weird for an atheist to claim to do
this, but it happened. I cannot deny talking with God. Lex described the
conversations as peaceful and cool. Lex and God talked about what Lex is
going to do with his life and how things will change for him. Basically, God told
me that the effects of my brain injury were going to help me to focus better and
eliminate my attention deficit disorder. Lex stated that God also gave him a
mission that was to dedicate his life to save the environment.
Lex had always loved nature and the environment, but was never able to
focus long enough to become serious about it. He believes that surviving his
accident and injury has provided him the opportunity to pursue his passion that
became his mission. He now is agnostic because he believes in a Higher
Being, but not organized religion.
Shelley
Shelley is a 30-year-old, single woman who resides in north central
Florida. She is the second youngest of five siblings and lives with her mother.


119
focused upon her past goals. Her accomplishments since 1993 include doing
many things that she was expected never to do again. She walks and is
planning on running and driving again one day. She gave an international
speech in Japan on recovering from traumatic brain injury, along with other
local speaking engagements to support groups. She entered a local
community college and completed her Associate of Arts degree in 1998. Her
current plans are to write about her own experiences and to help other people
with traumatic brain injury on their healing journey.
Another dream of hers is to marry and have a family one day. She
indicates that this is a very important goal for her that she feels has been
minimized. Although she is appreciative and indebted to all of those who have
supported her and continue to support her, she wants to be taken seriously
with all of her goals, including this one. She indicates that she works daily to
implement and practice good judgment in all of her endeavors and goal setting
and plans to do so with this goal as well. Shelley indicates that she has
wondered from time to time what her purpose is in life, having survived an
accident against all odds. She prays and meditates about this and keeps
getting the feeling that it is to show others that there is hope and reason for
living. Overall, her goal is to be an example of survival and life to those who
wonder or have doubt that it can be done, especially against all odds.


138
severed from his brain, he replied, I dont know, its in the background now.
Upon asking him why he replied this way, he responded by explaining that he
sees no sense in scrutinizing things that about which nothing can be done.
Its not important to dwell on those things. ... I cant do anything about them. .
. I only focus on things that have solutions to be found, Lex states. He is more
focused on finding solutions to problems, and since he cannot regenerate his
pituitary gland, he is more interested in finding ways to compensate for its loss.
Last, he attributes his successes to having no agenda other than
personal greed, drive, and tenacity in reaching his goals. He states, I do
nothing that isnt for me and me only. ... I am not trying to be an inspiration for
anyone, anyone at all. So, I deserve no credit in that respect, I am basically
greedy, says Lex. He states that while in a coma, he and God discussed the
changes that could help Lex to achieve his mission of helping the environment.
Lex states that this conversation was surprising, as he considers himself to be
atheist, but it happened nevertheless. From it his mission to help save our
natural resources was validated along with the capacity to focus because of the
accident.
Post-accident. Lex describes several changes that he has experienced
since his accident. He states that he is able to focus without being distracted
or impulsive. He states that he could never really attend well before his
accident and that his accident afforded him the ability to stay on task, a trait he
feels is necessary for research. He also has become much more reserved.
He is much less interested in meeting people and partying and much more


180
were all primarily Caucasian, with only one having Hispanic heritage in his
lineage. There were two female and three male participants, giving a gender
distribution congruent with the statistics documenting the ration of male to
female survivors of brain injury.
Another possible limitation of this study is that the research has been
shaped by the perceptions of this researcher and pre-conceived notions that
may have excluded possible directions of exploration for this study. As such,
this researcher developed questions that guided the conversations and the
data.
Another limitation is that time did not permit additional explanations into
the issues of the participants such as why most of the participants were
dissatisfied with rehabilitation. Had more time been available and defined,
additional exploration of preexisting variables such as personality, substance
abuse, or other disabilities could have been pursued. Another topic worthy of
additional exploration would have been the spirituality issues that arose
unexpectedly. Additional time would have provided the opportunity to follow up
with such issues.
Implications
The construct Family Support indicates that having the support of family
members was vital to perseverance and persistence of striving toward goals
for the participants. Specifically, the participants felt that the inclusion of family
members who believed in their capabilities to achieve past, present, and future
goals was of utmost importance. Because the survivor and family members


14
disabilities are regarded in terms of function, or the degree that one is able to
achieve the day-to-day activities known as activities of daily living (ADL)(Livneh
&Antonak, 1997; Olkin, 1999).
Inconsistencies exist across contexts and professions when defining
disability. The degree of function, stigma, and illness are interchangeably
pitted against each other, often spurring countless legal battles across the
country (Olkin, 1999; Rubin & Roessler, 1995). For example, obesity, height,
and learning disabilities entail legal ambiguity that yields inconsistent disability
decisions (Olkin, 1999). The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990 have been credited with prompting the continuous fine-
tuning of the definition of disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act of
1990 defines disability as follows:
The term disability" means, with respect to an individual any
physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of
the major life activities of such individual such as caring for oneself and
performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing,
learning, or working. The individual must have a record of such
impairment and must be regarded as having such impairment. (ADA,
1990, p. 12111)
This definition focuses on the degree of function that qualifies or
disqualifies an individual with a disability. A more poignant perspective is to
ask when people with disabilities consider themselves to be disabled (Livneh
& Antonak, 1997; Maki & Riggar; 1997; Olkin, 1999). Olkin (1999) identified
three disability identity groups that people with disabilities gravitate toward.
The first of these, called the functional limitations group, may accept benefits
such as handicapped parking, but reject seeing themselves as disabled


50
in housing sales, rentals, or financing such housing. Further, landlords were
required to make reasonable accommodations of existing premises and new
buildings must be accessible (Fleischer & Zames, 1998; West, 1991).
These laws paved the way for more recent antidiscrimination laws such
as the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 signed by President George Bush.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was important legislation
created after information was gathered from three Senate hearings, 63 public
hearings, and surveys issued by Louis Harris and Associates in 1986 that
indicted multiple injustices occurring to peoples with disabilities (Rubin &
Roessler, 1995, p. 85). The ADA of 1990 opened the door wider for the
disabled to access mainstream society and ensured that enforceable
standards exist (Rubin & Roessler, 1995, p. 85). The Americans With
Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 addressed discrimination concerns congruent
with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was criterion based in that it required that an
individual possess an impairment, physical or mental, causing substantial
limitations for daily life; that the impairment be documented; and that the
individual be regarded as having an impairment (Adams, 1991). From a
condensed legal perspective, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
utilized the language of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 defining a
disability as follows:
(1) A mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one
or more of the major life activities of that person, (2) a record of the
impairment(s), and (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
(p. 12111)


144
she was much more outgoing and popular. She is nicer now, whereas before
her accident she was conceited and did not treat people well. She prefers
being nicer to people. She is no longer able to dance or run but vows that she
will run again one day. She took life for granted before and now feels that she
has been given another chance to live and vows that she will not waste it.
Losses. Shelleys losses are many from her accident. She describes
the feelings of having lost her musical and physical abilities. While she has
not lost her musical abilities totally, she admits that she has to work at it now.
That really makes me feel very sad, she states. I used to be so good without
having to practice, she states wistfully. She has lost time with her social
goals. She aspires to live independently, marry, and have a family when it is
time. She feels that this goal will be delayed as she spends more time
adjusting to the emotional and physical changes caused by her injury. She
focuses more readily on what she has gained from her accident. These gains
include a new lease on life, as she puts it. Additionally, she has gained
insight and wisdom into what is important about life and endeavors to never
take it for granted again.
Emotional phases of adjustment. Shelley recognizes having various
emotions about her injuries and adjustment. She admits feeling both anger
and pity toward the driver who caused her accident. She was the passenger of
the driver who had a head on collision while driving under the influence of
illegal substances. She admits her own regret in having made the decision to
keep his company to begin with and feels it is unfair that he is now graduating


ADJUSTMENT OF ADULTS WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY:
A QUALITATIVE INQUIRY
By
ALICE DIANE SCHARF-LOCASCIO
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL IN THE
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL
FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR
OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
2001


162
Coming to terms with the injury and merging pre-accident self with
post-accident self connotes acceptance. Psychotherapeutic interventions are
implemented through a variety of modalities. Survivors are given the
opportunity to participate in whatever recipe of modalities works best for them
including individual, group, support, family or other interventions. In doing so,
self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-respect may be incorporated by the
survivor.
Last, clients are given opportunities to practice cognitive skills,
vocational skills, academic skills, emotional skills, communication skills, and
recreational skills in order to enhance reentry into the corresponding arenas
requiring such skills. Having the chance to practice these tasks may improve
mastery of such tasks in the environment thereby enhancing self-esteem and
empowerment.
The Empowerment Model and the Constructs
The construct Family Support supports the Empowerment approach in
that the Acceptance component maintains that family support is vital in
facilitating adjustment. All of the participants maintain that they do not know if
they could have achieved their goals to date had it not been for the support of
family members. Another element to this is that all the participants suggest
that their supportive family members believed in them. This is congruent with
the Empowerment Models premises that belief and empowerment foster
survivor efficacy. Again, the impact and significance of having the support of
family is not known. The data construct Family Support indicates that family


211
Bogdan, R., & Biklen S. (1992). Foundations of qualitative research in
education: An introduction. In R. Bogdan & S. Biklen (Eds.), Qualitative
research for education (p. 48). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Brain Injury Association. (2000). www.
Brooks, M., Campsie, L, Symington, C., Beattie, A., & McKinlay, W.
(1987). The effects of severe head injury on patient and relative within seven
years of injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. 2(31. 1-13.
Brown, M., Gordon, W. A., & Haddad, L. (2000). Models for predicting
quality of life in individuals with traumatic brain injury. Brain Iniurv. 14(11. 5-19.
Buchanan, A. (1990). Justice as reciprocity versus subject-centered
justice. Philosophy and Public Affairs. 19, 227-252.
Burke, D., & Ordia, J. (2000). Pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury. In
B. Woo & Nesathurai, C. (Eds.). The rehabilitation of people with traumatic
brain injury. Boston, MA: Boston Medical Center.
Caeser, C. (1997). Clients perceived trust, trustworthiness, and
expectations in the therapeutic relationship: Factors in satisfaction with
counseling received. (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Florida, 1997).
Dissertation Abstracts International. 57(10-B). 6560.
Campbell, J. (1995). Inside lives: The quality of biography. In R. R.
Sherman & R. B. Webb (Eds.). Qualitative research in education: Focus and
methods (pp. 59-75). New York: The Fulmer Press.
Carpenter, S. (2001). Restoring attention after brain damage. Monitor on
Psychology, 32(4). 86-88.
Chadwick, O. (1985). Psychological sequella of head injury in children.
Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 27. 72-75.
Chan, F., Shaw, L, McMahon, B., Koch, L, & Strauser, D. (1997). A
model for enhancing rehabilitation counselor-consumer working relationships.
Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin. 41(2), 122-137.
Condeluci, A. (1995). Bevond difference. Winter Park, FL: St. Lucie
Press.
Condeluci, A., & Williams, J. M. (1997). Consumer: individual and
families. In D. R. Maki & T. F. Riggar (Eds.). Rehabilitation counseling
profession and practice (pp. 111-123). New York: Springer.


25
determinants fall into three categories: external factors such as the
environment, the type and severity of disability, and internal factors such
personality and self-concept (Livneh & Antonak, 1997; Schlossberg, 1981;
Vash, 1981; Wright, 1983).
As an individual acquires a disabling illness or condition and reacts to it,
the environment provides feedback to the reactions in two ways. First,
sentiment toward handicaps and disabilities is reflected by the construction
and implementation of concrete, physical objects (Vash, 1981). For instance,
adjustments are made to the physical environment by inserting elevators and
ramps when stairs are impassable or by developing a relay hearing service
when telephone use is impeded. These environmental adjustments are
concrete and static, representing the paradoxical attitudes of normalized
society. Flence, culture and environment have a large role and responsibility in
defining disabilities and attitudes toward them (Vash, 1981; Wright, 1983).
Those physical objects designed to enhance accessibility were designed and
implemented by engineers and architects who shaped and therefore defined
an environment (Vash, 1981; Wright, 1983).
A second type of environmental feedback comes from people and their
attitudes. These attitudes are influenced by societal values and customs
interwoven with attempts to reverse the underlying tone of rejection or
nonacceptance toward those who are different (Olkin, 1999; Vash, 1981). Vash
attributed these attitudinal barriers to several factors including over-evaluation
of physique, under-evaluation of spirituality, societal tendency of blaming the


66
denial. The rehabilitation professional is faced with the task of ascertaining the
clients decision-making capabilities. This has serious implications as the
professional also has to ascertain the clients potential to improve decision
making skills if the patient does seem to exhibit unrealistic expectations.
Should the professional determine that the client cannot set realistic goals
because of the cognitive damage, then goals must be set for that person
(Prigatano, 1999). However, should clients demonstrate potential to do so,
then rehabilitation professionals must empower and allow clients to pursue
desired goals (OHara & Harrell, 1990).
The problem is that this is not always easily determined. Should
rehabilitation professionals determine goals for individuals that possessed the
capacity to do so, then such counselors have not served their clients. Instead,
the basic rights of the client have been ignored and devalued. This has
serious ethical implications. Therefore, it is imperative that the clients
subjective reality be understood, respected, and upheld. To do this,
assessments and testing are available to ascertain levels of cognitive and
emotional functioning and potential. It is also vital to see through the clients
eyes and endeavor to understand phenomenologically from the insiders
perspective (Prigano, 1999; Wright, 1983).
Models of Brain Injury Rehabilitation
In examining the philosophies of current traumatic brain injury
rehabilitation theory, two trends that appear to be dominant throughout the


REFERENCES
Adams, J. E. (1991). Judicial and regulatory interpretation of the
employment rights of persons with disabilities. Journal of Applied
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Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. (1990). Public Law 101-336, 42
U.S.C. 12111, 12112.
Antonak, R., Livneh, H., & Antonak, C. (1993). A review of research on
psychosocial adjustment to impairment in persons with traumatic brain injury.
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. 8(4), 87-100.
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral
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Bandura, A. (19861. Social foundations of thought and action: A social
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Bandura, A. (1989). Regulation of cognitive processes through perceived
self-efficacy. Developmental Psychology. 25. 729-735.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacv: The Exercise of control. New York, W.
H. Freeman.
Bativia, A., & Dejong, G. (1990). Developing a comprehensive health
services research capacity in physical disability and rehabilitation. Journal of
Disability Policy Studies. 1, 37-60.
Bergland, M., & Thomas, K. (1991). Psychosocial issues following
severe head injury in adolescence: Individual and family perceptions.
Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin. 35. 5-22.
Billings, A., & Moos, R. (1981). The role of coping responses and social
resources in attenuating the stress of life events. Journal of Behavioral
Medicine. 40. 1099-1108.
Billings, A., & Moos, R. (1984). Coping, stress and social resources
among adults with unipolar depression. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 46. 877-891.
210


95
In addition, Teresa Lynn was in a great deal of constant pain because of
the extent of her injuries. As a result, her doctor forwarded a letter of concern to
the rehabilitation treatment team doctor. Her doctor at the rehabilitation
hospital subsequently discharged her, stating that there was nothing more that
could be done for her.
Teresa Lynn was dissatisfied with this physicians decision to discharge
her. She states that she only saw him two other times during her stay at the
hospital. She indicates feeling unworthwhile and dejected because of the few
interactions with the individual directing the rehabilitation team. If given the
chance, she indicated that she would make several changes in rehabilitation
treatment planning. First, she would increase doctor patient interactions so
that she could feel like she was truly part of her own rehabilitation. Second,
she would ensure that rehabilitation exercises were germane to the client. She
felt that many of the exercises and activities were not relevant to her and were
more geared to populations much older than her. Third, she would provide
clients with the chance to have spiritual counsel if they wished, not just an
empty chapel.
Throughout her rehabilitation, Teresa Lynn recalls some positive
interactions with her team of therapists who went out of their way to make her
feel good about herself and to laugh. She remembers other times feeling
stupid because she could not remember how to do things. She likened this to
being a baby having to start all over again with toilet training, walking, talking,


106
Taz was injured during his second marriage that ended approximately 2
years ago. Although his ex-wife participated in his rehabilitation to his dismay,
she filed for divorce soon after he returned home from the rehabilitation
hospital. He explains that he actually saw a divorce attorney the week of the
accident because he realized he did not love her and felt she was too
controlling. Taz states that he does not believe he loved either of his ex-wives
and described a current relationship as one that might be real love.
Tazs accident occurred on New Years Eve 1998. His family was having
a New Years cookout celebration and had several friends and family members
present. One of the guests wanted to ride their new four-wheeler. He did not
believe it was working correctly, so he decided to test drive it himself first after
having had two beers. He proceeded to take it out without a helmet and admits
to going a little too fast. Upon swerving to miss hitting his youngest son who
ran out in front of him, he flipped the vehicle hitting the pavement head first. He
was air lifted to the hospital and was not expected to live. He spent 2 weeks in
a coma and upon awakening was transported to his rehabilitation hospital
where he stayed for approximately 7 months and was discharged after 8
months.
Taz participated in rehabilitation from his home during the eighth month.
His only injury was a traumatic brain injury to his frontal and left parietal lobes.
He describes several changes since his accident. He needs bifocal glasses
to drive but admits feeling self-conscious about wearing them all the time. He
is now an auditory learner, whereas once his was a visual learner. Since the


55
ethic incidence of head injury vary too greatly to validly claim that any one group
sustains injuries more than another. Studies show that there are higher
numbers of head injury among lower socio-economic populations (Krauss &
McArthur, 1999; Woo & Thoidis, 2000). Motor vehicular collisions account for
50% of the incidences of head injury with falls accounting for 21% of new cases
( Woo & Thoidis, 2000). Firearm injuries account for 12% of head trauma, and
males between the ages of 25 and 34 incur such injuries at 6 times the rate of
females the same age. Sports injuries account for 10% of new cases of head
injury, and the remaining percentage falls into the category of other as causes
for head injury new cases (Woo & Thoidis, 2000). Finally, records show that
56% of the incidences of new head injuries show a blood alcohol level that is
positive, a factor that compounds acute medical treatment phases as
respiratory complications tend to increase (Krauss & McArthur, 1999).
The amount of literature has grown tremendously since the 1980s
regarding traumatic brain injuries relevant to mortality and morbidity. One study
noted that in the Journal of Neurosurgery between 1944 and 1974 there was a
total of two articles that related mortality and morbidity to traumatic brain injury
(Hill, 1999; Langfitt, 1978).
Strauss and Savitsky in 1934 compiled physical symptoms of closed
head injury and called the malady post concussion syndrome (Fabiano &
Daugherty, 1998). One of the earliest documented accounts of brain injury was
of an individual named Phineas Gage who in 1868 received a frontal lobe brain
injury. Significant in this account is that the impact of his injury was that not only


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
j-rlamilton, Chairperson
Associate Professor of Educational
Leadership, Policy, and Foundations
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation fqLlbedegree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Ronald J. Spitzhgel
Associate Professor of Rehabilitation
Counseling
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the^degree/O^Doctor o^ Philosopt
Peter A. D. Sherrard
Associate Professor of Counselor Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
M. Harr/Daniels^
Professor of Coun§lor Education


38
trust, occurring the first year of life during which the infant and caregiver
establish whether the world is trustworthy as the infants needs are met
(Erikson, 1982, 1997). The value to be attained in this stage is hope (Erikson,
1982, 1997).
The second stage, ages 1 to 3 years old, is shame and doubt versus
autonomy, during which the child attempts to master tasks and assert will.
The value to be attained at the second stage is will (Erikson, 1982, 1997).
The third stage is called guilt versus initiative, where toddlers attempt to
master their bodies and the world around them. The value to be attained in the
third stage is purpose (Erikson, 1982, 1997). The value to be attained in the
fourth stage is competence. During the fourth stage, industry versus
inferiority, children learn about themselves as workers, especially related to
schoolwork and tasks. The fifth stage, identity confusion versus identity,
encompasses adolescent-aged youth who are trying to explore the boundaries
of themselves in relation to society. Individuals in this stage are concerned
with defining the possible and potential parameters of identity. The value to be
attained in the fifth stage is fidelity (Erikson, 1982, 1997).
The sixth stage is isolation versus intimacy during which young adults
have made commitments to identity and now seek relationships characterized
by reciprocal love and devotion. The value to be attained in this sixth stage is to
find love (Erikson, 1982, 1997). The seventh stage encompasses the middle
adult years and is characterized by a want to give or teach others for the greater
societal good. In this stage of generativity versus stagnation, individuals carry


102
priorities, putting his son first and himself second. He uses a poem written by
his favorite player of the Oakland Raiders football team to motivate him to focus
on his goals. He states that his son has been a big source of motivation and
inspiration to keep trying and keep going. His son became his main priority
and pride now. He explained that his own inner self-determination drives him
to keep going for his goals despite feeling tired at times. He attributed his
successes in overcoming obstacles so far to his family and close friends.
Case Study 3: Taz
Tazs interview took place at his one-story condominium on the beach on
an overcast, wintery day. His home was neatly furnished and arranged with
pictures of his three sons proudly displayed. We sat at his dining room table
with a plain view of the beach with the ocean rolling in and out and could have
jumped in with a good running start. Taz chose his own pseudo-name, as it
was a nickname that he has had since his college days. He is approximately 6
feet tall and weighs about 216 pounds, with dark hair and hazel eyes. He was
neatly dressed in slacks and a button-up shirt and was well groomed. He
explained that he would be attending a job interview later in the afternoon. He
presents confidently and amicably socially and was eager to share his
experiences in having incurred a closed head injury. He interjects a wry sense
of humor in conversation with a New England accent. He is the only son of his
parents who live in the same area of Florida. He has a twin sister and two
older sisters. All of his sisters live in New Hampshire and visit as much as
possible. He states that he did not do well in high school without the help of


91
Teresa Lynn has one younger brother, 16 years old, almost 17, who resides
with her and her parents. She has two older half siblings, a half-brother 7
years older and half-sister 9 years older, that she has reunited with since her
accident in 1998. Teresa Lynn states, It was really great to have them be a
part of my life again, so it is another good thing that has come from my
accident.
Teresa Lynn is very close with her family, whom she considers to be her
closest friends. She is very active in her church, where she has a strong
spiritual life and participates regularly in various volunteer activities. In her
spare time, she enjoys attending to her pets and other animals on their
property.
Teresa Lynn is pursuing her Associate of Science degree in Physical
Therapy Assistant at a local community college. She states that she is in her
first term and is doing well in this program and is hoping to work one day
helping other people who have endured disability and injury. She participated
in preparatory courses before being admitted because she had to repeat her
last year of high school in order to regain what she lost as a result of the
accident. She states untiringly, I really did not mind taking the preparatory
classes, even though it was basically a repeat of my senior year in high
school. She goes on, I knew I would need to take these courses again in
order to understand the basics of my program, so it was okay.
Teresa Lynn wears glasses and ambulates independently with no
assistive devices. She practices driving on safe roads, but usually lets her


24
to incurring a disability that is congruent with the subjective perception of the
external environment. He suggested that adjustment is optimized when the
environment and the subjective realities of people or compatible. As the
environment and individual accommodate and acclimate to one another, then
adaptation is achieved (Shontz, 1975, 1989). Last, Shontz maintained that the
best consultants when researching rehabilitation issues are those who
actually have experienced the targeted malady first hand, dubbed the insiders
by Beatrice Wright in 1983 (Gordon & Shontz, 1990; Wright, 1983). All
individuals who observe the victim of acquired disability, whether they are a part
of the treatment team, the family support system, or virtual strangers, are
outsiders. These individuals are all a part of the environment providing
feedback and impressions, intentionally or unintentionally, to insiders, thereby
affecting adjustment (Dembo, Levitn, & Wright, 1975; Wright, 1983).
Vash (1981) conceptualized the process of adjusting to a disability as
normal reactions to abnormal stimuli. Vash (1981) stated that the normal
reaction is the psychological process of acclimating to an injury, while the
accident or illness itself is the abnormal stimuli. She seemed to readily accept
the reaction of the individual as unconditionally normal, while the environment
is not always accepting of those reactions. While Vash, Shontz, and Wright
differed in how they conceptualized adjustment to disability, they all agreed that
a variety of factors affect adjusting to illness or injury. Existing before the
disability was acquired, these identified factors influence adjustment
processes after illness or disability is incurred. According to Vash, these


APPENDIX A
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What was your life like before your accident? What did you do for fun?
What did you do for work? If in school, what were you studying? What kind
of student were you? Who was your primary family support system? What
were you like; specifically, what were your moods, personality & outlook on
life like? What were your goals?
2. What changes happened for you after your accident?
3. Describe what happened or what you remember happening when you
were hurt.
4. What goals, if different than before your accident, did you plan for yourself?
5. Were your goals the same as your rehabilitation helpers goals?
6. How were they the same? How were they different?
7. How would you interpret the difference(s) between your goals and your
rehabilitation professionals goals, if any exist?
8. How would you describe what its like to participate in rehabilitation?
9. Describe what processes you went through during your rehabilitation.
How did rehabilitation help you to obtain your goals? How did
rehabilitation prevent you from your goals, if they were prevented?
10. What would you change about your rehabilitation program? What would
you not change? What would you do to improve a rehabilitation program?
11. Please describe the overall experience of acquiring a traumatic brain
injury, participating in a rehabilitation program, and assimilating back into
your life like?
195


3
insurance plans, government assistance, or client resources (Prigatano,
1999). Individuals with acquired disabilities are presented with consequential
choices of avenues to pursue in efforts to adjust to the new disability.
Committing to these choices and life goals inadvertently defines different
aspects of a developing identity (Erikson, 1963, 1982; McAdams, 1993).
Likewise, the rehabilitation philosophy adopted and implemented by
rehabilitation specialists influences the decisions made by survivors and their
families (Olkin, 1999; Prigatano, 1999).
Shaping identity is significant enough without incorporating the variable
of an incurred disability. Self-concept is no longer appropriate without including
the new parameters introduced by a disability (Deloach, 1981, 1994). This is
because the individual with an incurred moderate to severe disability is unable
to function day-to-day without acknowledging limitations and changes (Livneh &
Antonak, 1997; Olkin, 1999). Thus, the process of rehabilitation begins in order
to assist survivors with adapting to the changes caused by the incurred
handicap or disability (Olkin, 1999).
Statement of the Problem
Current rehabilitation counseling trends claim to use an active
consumer/survivor approach to developing treatment plans and goals, with the
rationale being that treatment objectives are better achieved with maximum
consumer/survivor involvement. Maximizing client involvement in treatment
planning leads to increased satisfaction for the client/consumer (McAlees &
Menz, 1992). This seems to be little more than an ideal as a recent study by


118
Shelley participated in rehabilitation therapies including physical therapy,
occupational therapy, speech therapy, and counseling at the rehabilitation
hospital but could tolerate only 10 minutes a day in the beginning. Shelley was
unable to state that she was satisfied with the services administered to her
there. Upon asking her if the rehabilitation team attended to her goals, she
acknowledges that they did attend to one of her goals, but her other goals were
ignored. She entered the program with the goal in mind of walking again, and
they did help her to achieve this goal. She feels that the rehabilitation team
limited her, however, because they would not consider larger goals for her.
She feels that they were unwilling to consider bigger goals because they did
not believe she could reach them and did not have much faith in her potential.
However, Shelley also wanted to improve socially. She feels that her
goals were dismissed as being unimportant. Specifically, she wanted more
social interaction with other brain-injured patients and to participate in a
support group. She also wanted to have more incentives, as she felt that the
staff was there to focus on physical gains and regains primarily. She feels that
little attention was given to her psychosocial needs and questions. Shelley has
always been a socially inclined person and feels that this would have helped
her in some of her struggles to recover some of her physical abilities as well
as emotionally.
Shelley has always been a determined person and feels that her
determination, supported by a team of people including her mother, close
friends, attorney, exercise physiologist, and God, have all helped her to stay


28
Many studies assess the relationship between locus of control and level
of adjustment to disability. For example, Roberta Trieschmann (1989)
investigated numerous personality traits and their relationship to positive
adjustment to spinal chord injury. She found that those individuals with a
higher internal locus of control had more positive adjustment. Levenson
(1975) expanded upon Rotters locus of control concept and determined that
three categories exist, including internality, influence of powerful other, and
chance occurrences. The additional category accounted for those catastrophic
events that are caused by chance, such as weather catastrophes or other
accidents (Levenson, 1975).
Krause, Stanwick, and Maides (1998) conducted further research with
spinal chord injury patients to determine, among other things, the relationship
between internality or internal locus of control and adjustment, short and long
term, to the disability. The results showed that those with higher locus of
control had a favorable emotional outcome. Likewise, the results also showed
that those influenced by powerful others with higher external locus of control
had more difficulties emotionally (Krause et al., 1998). Other researchers have
examined and determined that those with higher internal locus of control tend
to take more responsibility in all aspects of having incurred a disability. These
individuals tend to self-blame or own the occurrence of disability. Likewise,
they also actively set goals and expectations of themselves in order to succeed
in achieving life goals and/or treatment goals. This is similar to a phenomenon
known as efficacy, referring to the potential expectations and goals that a


207
Table H-1. Themes and Categories
Family
Coping
Mechanisms
Post-Accident
Losses
Phases of
Adjustment
Rebirth
Rehabili
tation should
change
Positive things
about
rehabilitation
Spiritu
ality
Theresa
Lynn
Supportive
Best -Friends
Activities
Spirituality
Father
Determined
Mission from
talks with God
Outgoing
P.T. Assist.
English
Focused
Grand
mothers
Military
Injuries
Anger
Sadness
Depression
Felt "stupid"
and frus
trated
More dr.
contact
Relevant
goals
Spiritual
Counsel
Humor
Helped
memory
Prayers
Church
Talks
with
victim
angels
Bernie
Parents and
brothers
helped
Son
Humor
Overlooks
Determined
Non-drinker
Job
No license
Graduated
Introverted
Marriage
Custody
Career
License
Anger
Grief
Depression
Frustration
re-learning
walk, talk,
etc.
Nothing
Values
Goals
contextual
No
thing
Taz
Parents,
sisters & son
supportive
Talk with God
Sons
tenacity
Introverted
Less impulsive
Calmer
Sports
Second
wife
Salary and
career
Grief
Anger toward
self
Frustration
restarting
career, walk,
talk, think &
feel
Exercise
should be
relevant
More Dr
contact
Helped to
focus
Talks
with
God
Change
in
attitude
Lex
Family
supportive
especially
mother
Mission: from
God maps
Back-ground
Greed
Introverted
Focus
Deter-mlned
Hormones
Eight years
Anger
Depression
Sadness
Felt trapped
physical
limitation
Re-Leaming
Relevant
goals
Listen to
client goals
and context
Hormone
replacement
Talks
with
God
Mis
sion
Shelley
Mother, family
and friends
Spirituality
Goals
determined
Less adept
musically
Reserved
Nicer.
Indepen
dence
Physical
Music
Dance
Anger
Depression
Learning
everything
again
Frustrating
pace
Listen to
Srespect all
client goals
Motivate
Social goals
Helped her
walk again
Prays
Church


54
impact from acceleration injuries such as being hit by a moving object or
deceleration injuries such as striking a stationary object while in motion
(Noble, Cobley, Laski, & Noble, 1990; Krauss & McArthur, 1999). Genetic
abnormalities occurring prenatally and perinatally, degenerative diseases such
as Alzheimers disease, infectious diseases, tumors, and strokes are excluded
from this definition (Livneh & Antonak, 1997). The definition of traumatic brain
injury is inconsistent in the literature. Some authors use the terms head
injury and traumatic brain injury synonymously, while others use the terms
separately. Used separately, the term traumatic brain injury refers to acute
damage to the central nervous system. Head injury refers to both damage to
the central nervous system as well as other injuries lacking any neurological
sequella, such as soft tissue injuries to the face, scalp, or skull fractures
(Kraus & McArthur, 1999; Woo & Thoidis, 2000). Other terms used
synonymously in the literature include closed head injury, nonpenetrating head
injury, and blunt head trauma, but are more descriptive than the all inclusive
term, head injury, previously described (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
Statistics show that there are certain populations that are at higher risk
for sustaining such injuries. For instance, the highest incidences of closed
head trauma are reported to be between the ages 15 and 24. Mortality rates
are highest in this age group as well. Males outnumber females at a ratio of
3.4 to 1 (Woo & Thoidis, 2000). Woo and Thoidis (2000) cited that nonwhite
minorities are at higher risk for incurring head injury. Krauss and McArthur
(1999), however, stated that measures taken by hospitals to record race or


136
in natural resources and environmental sciences at a state university in Florida.
He has begun working on his thesis and is wrapping up his course work. Lex
grew up in the Republic of Panama and had no problems academically as he
is very intelligent and excelled. He did have problems focusing, however,
because of having attention deficit hyper activity disorder. As he puts it, I had a
very difficult time focusing and sitting still. He graduated from college with a
Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology from a private college on the
west coast of Florida. In 1991 he had entered the College of Veterinary
Medicine at the University of Florida when he had an accident from which he
sustained a traumatic brain injury that severed his pituitary gland from his
brain, ceasing the production of vital hormones such as thyroid, testosterone,
and hydrocortisone.
After awakening from his coma 2 weeks later, he was transferred to a
rehabilitation hospital for approximately 1 year. His progress there was poor
as he and the head administrators and doctor did not agree, and he was
viewed as noncompliant. His parents picked him up and took him back to the
Republic of Panama where he began his recovery. In late 1999, he met an
internal medicine specialist who began a vigorous hormonal and medical
regimen that replenished the hormones that his brain stopped producing 8
years earlier. The following themes and categories were derived after receiving
comparisons from his story.
Family. Lex states that his family has been extremely important in his
recovery and adjustment process to traumatic brain injury. His mother has


20
ability to make economic contributions to society, thereby setting up an
interesting paradox. People with disabilities hold power as a group because of
legislation that defines them, but because value is placed upon economic
contribution, the societal stigma of people with disabilities being less capable
of contributing is perpetuated (Crisp, 2000; Gilson & Depoy, 2000).
Finally, the multicultural model sees individuals with disabilities as a
group that is not bound by the lists of symptoms within their diagnoses but as a
group inclusive within itself because of the societal and political circumstances
forced upon them (Crisp, 2000; Gilson & Depoy, 2000). One underlying theme
that can be derived from all of these models is that people with disabilities are
under-positioned socially and politically. In the endeavor to facilitate
adjustment to a disability, the presentation and awareness of these models
lends to a better understanding as to why acceptance of a disability can be a
difficult undertaking (Crisp, 2000; Gilson & Depoy, 2000).
Psychosocial Adjustment to Disability
Adjustment to a disability in American society is often erroneously
perceived as the individual achieving normalization, functioning independently
with the majority of society (Perrin & Nirje, 1985; Rubin & Roessler, 1995). One
common misconception in our society is that of success and normalization
equated with independence. Dependence of any type is viewed negatively,
perpetuated by media and entertainment icons. Self-made individuals are
upheld and praised for being independent from familial and governmental
support (Rubin & Roessler, 1995). In our society, the word disability connotes


128
just leaving me while I was still in the hospital. He lost his career as a cook for
the time being. Although he currently does not cook for a living, he did graduate
from culinary school after his accident. He indicates, It took me a while, but I
did graduate from culinary school with honors! Bernies parental rights were
terminated as a result of his accident, as his ex-wife felt that he was not
capable of being a custodial father. Bernie states, Fathers get the raw end of
the deal most of the time when divorces happen. Those legal people just dont
treat fathers, especially fathers who have brain injuries, fairly. Also, he lost his
license as a result of driving with a suspended license too many times.
Emotional phases of adjustment. Bernie describes times when he has
felt angry or depressed because of the losses that he has experienced. He
told of an incident when he was arrested for drinking and driving when he had
not been drinking. Because he has balance problems and slowed speech, the
officers did not believe him, despite having a Traumatic Brain Injury card and
a zero Blood Alcohol Level. He blames himself for having a significant history
for drinking and driving but also blames the legal people for giving him a
rough time. He speaks of his brain injury in terms of it being reality now and
something that he deals with and accepts. You know, he states, I really have
lost faith in the justice system. ... It seems like they are just out to make things
worse, not help. He states, Thats OK, I deal with it and my life is on track
now.
Starting life over/rebirth. Having had to learn to talk, read, walk, write,
think, and feel as if he were a little child again frustrated Bernie. He indicated


103
his twin sister. I werent too big on studying, he explains, she got the brains
and I got the looks is what I tell her. He has good relationships with all of his
immediate family members, with the exception of a grandmother whom he
strongly dislikes.
He currently works full time as the maintenance engineer of the
condominium complex where he resides alone overseeing the maintenance
and repair of 55 units on the property. His father helps him part time with this
endeavor. He does not particularly enjoy his work or his place of residence
because the average resident age at the condominium complex is about 65,
and he is 38. He described incidences of residents treating him as less their
equal because of his age and was frustrated with their entitlement attitudes.
He also would like a job that earns more than $16,000.00 per year. He
explains, Talk about adjustment, you try going from $70,000.00 to $16,000.00
per year.
Taz indicates that before he became the maintenance engineer for this
condominium complex, he once held a high level management and
engineering job at a community mental health hospital making $75,000.00 per
year. He was Director of Engineering for this hospital with several employees
under his management. He also let patients help with some of the work and
routines around the hospital. He indicated that he enjoyed these interactions
and could not really see why they needed to be so heavily medicated at times.
He felt that they seemed just fine, even without their heavy medication given to
them upon admittance to the hospital after breakdowns they had in the real


52
effect of accommodations on work schedules and fellow employees attitudes
and concern regarding productivity levels being adversely affected (Roessler &
Sumner, 1997). The latter concerns of employers and entrepreneurs reflect
the pervasive avoidance of inclusion of people with disabilities. A more recent
study by Hernandez, Keys, and Balcazar (2000) that examined the impact of the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 on employer attitudes found that overall
employers were more willing to hire people with disabilities. The study did
show that increases in employment of those with disabilities has occurred over
the last 10 years, but a significant gap exists between positive attitudes toward
hiring people with disabilities and actual hiring rates suggesting that the
positive attitudes are superficial (Hernandez et al., 2000).
While inclusion of minority populations into functional society is the goal
of policies and legislation, the attitudes of the general population still
perpetuate exclusion (Condeluci & Williams, 1997). Likewise, rehabilitation
professionals are prone to absorb, perpetuate, and impose onto clients the
paternalistic, prescriptive values brought on by exclusionist attitudes (Crisp,
2000). Achieving goals such as returning an individual to work in a modified
capacity is plausible because it relieves financial strain for insurance
companies and the government; however, it fosters the notion of admonishing
those who are unemployable (Kuehn, 1991). As people with disabilities
assume positions that contribute to society and not only taking from society, the
more likely the public will be able to change negative attitudes (Rubin &
Roessler, 1995). Rehabilitation professionals have the chance to foster


214
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toward workers with disabilities and their ADA employment rights: A literature
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175
were absorbed into constructs. A theme or category could not become a
construct unless all five participants experienced the category similarly. For
instance, spirituality was experienced by only four participants and therefore
could not become a construct. The eliminated or absorbed categories were
post-accident changes, losses, things rehabilitation should change, positive
things about rehabilitation, and spirituality.
The constructs that were derived from the multiple level comparisons
and cross-comparisons include Family Support, Coping Mechanisms,
Emotional Phases of Adjustment, Sense of Rebirth/Starting Over, and
Contextual Rehabilitation. In the Family Support construct, participants all
referred to the importance of having supportive family members that believed in
them and their propensities to achieve their individual goals. The Coping
Mechanisms construct also contained common elements among the
participants. One was the development of purpose. The participants all for one
reason or other decided that their accident had brought a new purpose or
mission for living. Second, each participant used upon a source of inspiration
for motivation for persevering such as a role model or spirituality.
The Emotional Phases of Adjustment construct revealed that all of the
participants experienced times of anger and depression during their
adjustment to their injuries. All of the participants discussed frustration and
acknowledgement of their brain injury at having to start life over again seen in
the Sense of Rebirth construct. Last, in the Contextual Rehabilitation
construct, all of the participants indicated the need of rehabilitation treatment


105
because of the changes he endured after his brain injury. Some of the
changes included that he could no longer go out and be the drinking, life-of-
the-party type of guy that he used to be. Taz chooses to refrain from drinking
because he likes to be aware and focused at all times now. Further, his ex-
wife did not like the reduced income that was brought on by the accident. Also,
Taz became more aware of some of her traits that he overlooked before. After
his accident, he was unwilling to tolerate some of these things, such as her
family fights and covering for her drinking habit, for instance.
He has good relationships with his sons but admits that the
relationships have changed since his accident approximately 3 years ago.
Before his accident, Taz excelled in most athletics, especially golf. His drive
was equivalent to Tiger Woods drives, but now he has trouble hitting the ball
straight because his vision, coordination, and strength were affected by his
accident. He also played hockey, baseball, softball, and football in his youth.
He used to be able to compete with his sons but now must participate as a
spectator. He occasionally will play sports with his sons but admits missing
the speed, coordination, and agility that he once had. He also describes
instances where his sons will query him about having half a brain as their
mother, Tazs second ex-wife tells the boys that their father is a mental case
and has just half a brain now. He realizes that one day he will have to sit down
with his sons and explain to them what has happened to him and how he has
been affected. For hobbies now, Taz enjoys the races, cooking, and listening to
country music.


164
The Development of Coping Mechanisms construct contains elements
of the participants strategies used to integrate the shock and reality that they
are different people and to foster goal attainment. These participants all
indicate that they possess traits of determination, tenacity, and motivation that
have helped them to achieve their successes thus far. Further, all describe
family members who empowered them to continue striving for their goals. One
participant, Bernie, attributed motivation and empowerment to his rehabilitation
team, while the others felt that their rehabilitation teams did anything but
empower them.
The Empowerment Model suggests that empowerment and instilling
efficacy in the clients is vital to facilitating adjustment. Four out of five
participants indicated that motivation did not come from their rehabilitation
providers but rather from within or elsewhere in the environment. While this
point in no way indicates any significance, the importance of motivation,
efficacy, and empowerment in the adjustment process should be noted.
The construct Emotional Phases of Adjustment included two common
emotional reactions among the participants--anger and grief. The
Acceptance component of this model suggests that processing these
emotional reactions to acquiring a brain injury fosters the reintegration of the
old identity and new identity. Most of the participants in this study processed
and worked through their emotional reactions independently in contrast to
using psychotherapy to process these emotions. The Empowerment Model
stresses the importance of survivors adopting adaptive versus maladaptive


29
person has for oneself (Bandura, 1977). Other adjustment theories maintain
that individuals who experience trauma and subsequent disability must
experience or do experience emotional phenomena such as depression,
anger, or denial in order to achieve adjustment and adaptation that are typically
seen in phase models (Livneh & Antonak, 1997).
The Phase Models
The phase models find roots in earlier adjustment models such as the
model for adjustment and adaptation to grief and dying introduced by Kubler-
Ross (1969). In this model, characteristics that were common in the
adjustment processes of dying patients and their families were introduced as
phases including shock, denial, anger, depression, and acceptance (Kubler-
Ross, 1969).
The phase models maintain that humans experience certain emotional
reactions to trauma and illness when adventitious disabilities occur. These
reactions include shock, anxiety, denial, depression, internalized anger,
externalized hostility, acknowledgement, and adjustment (Livneh & Antonak,
1997) (Appendix F). Studies reveal all or a combination of these phases may
be present and that the phases do not occur sequentially, necessarily (Livneh
& Antonak, 1997). For instance, Livneh and Antonak (1991) found that
reactions to disability were nonlinear, multidimensional, and hierarchical. The
results of the study showed the ordering of phases including maladaptive
reactions that blended in with the hypothesized order of adaptive reactions.
This study found relationships among the variables that varied with time. For


137
advocated for him and believed in him, and that has been one of the biggest
reasons that he has surpassed all of the expectations that his rehabilitation
team originally had of him. His brother also has been a source of support,
helping Lex to begin working toward a degree. He mentioned several times
during the interview how thankful he is for his family and how it important it is to
have supportive family when trying to adjust to brain injury. My whole family
deserves a lot of credit for my successes, especially my mom. . We are very
close, he states.
Coping mechanisms. Lex used several strategies consciously and
unconsciously through his adjustment process. First, he views his adjustment
as a discovery and learning process rather than a state of overcoming or
surpassing obstacles. He views adjustment differently, he thinks, because
before his accident, he had to compensate and adjust to having attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder. To me, adjustment was not a matter of loss and
compensation, it was merely another pace of learning, he states. Lex iterates,
I had one type of learning that was different than most before, now its just a
different learning process.
Second, he refused to settle on the goals that his rehabilitation team
suggested. He states that he knew he would always get back to graduate
school and absolutely refused to settle for working a menial labor job for the
duration of his life as his rehabilitation team recommended.
Third, he avoids acknowledging things he can do nothing about. For
instance, upon asking him what happened to his pituitary gland since it was


158
Livneh and Antonak (1997) indicated that anger and grief were two of the
necessary emotional components of the model to experience in order to
achieve acknowledgement and adjustment. The data supported this premise,
as all five participants experienced varying levels of frustration and depression
over aspects of their rehabilitation and adjustment processes. The construct
Emotional Phases of Adjustment discussed the commonalities discovered
from the data, uncovering that this small sample of individuals did in fact
experience at least these two emotions in reaction to their traumas.
The participants experiences of anger and grief were different among
each participant, however. Teresa Lynn directed her anger and grief at God
and the rehabilitation staff. Bernie directed his anger and grief toward his ex-
wife and law enforcement. Taz was angry with his ex-wife and rehabilitation
staff as was Lex and Shelley. Taz and Shelley expressed further frustrations
with parents. So, while phenomenological inquiry elicited results that support
Livneh and Antonaks supposition that anger and grief are usually experienced,
it does not explain anger, grief, or any of its emotional phases with respect to
treatment. The model does not address how to treat the various contexts
containing grief, anger, shock, denial, and adjustment.
The construct Family Support is represented in the Psychosocial Model
of Adaptation to Disability as a Class II Variable. The key trait about the
construct of Family Support derived from the data is that all participants
recognize how important it was for them to have supportive family members.
The Psychosocial Model of Adaptation to Disability lists family as a socio-


212
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Williamson Music Inc.


143
injury, other than her own drive and determination. My mother has basically
brought me into this world twice, and I want her to know that I am thankful more
than twice, she states. She feels that having a solid support system of family
and friends is vital in recovering from a traumatic brain injury. She also
believes that having a pet is important as well. Every person who goes
through surviving a brain injury should have a pet, especially a dog because
dogs give back so much, she states.
Coping mechanisms. Shelley explains that she is very spiritual;
Christianity is her religious preference; and she uses prayer frequently as a
means for coping and adjusting to the changes brought on by her injuries. She
also considers her survival to be a miracle, so she believes her purpose for
living is to provide hope and inspiration to others who face adversities. Too
many things at the scene of the accident just worked out uncannily, she states.
It had to be unseen, spiritual forces that moved the engine off of me, she said.
She adds, I interviewed the paramedic who tried to free me, and even he
agrees that that is the only explanation for it, moving just enough with no
explanation so that I could be freed and transported to the hospital. Last, she
relies on her friends; family; and dog, Milli, for support and comfort during times
she feels low or depressed.
Post-accident. Shelley has undergone several changes since her
accident. First, she does not play the violin or piano with as much ease
anymore. She states that she actually has to practice now and admits that this
troubles her. She also is more reserved. She states that before her accident,


9
brain tissue. Closed head injury was used synonymously while head injuries
4
were delineated as any injury to the head or face not having neurological
consequence, necessarily (Krauss & McArthur, 1999).
Morbid. For the purposes of this research, morbidity connotes the
incidence of disability or traumatic brain injury. Premorbid connotes conditions
that existed for individuals before acquisition of disability and postmorbid refers
to conditions existing after the acquisition of disability.
Adjustment. Some authors maintain that adjustment and adaptation are
separate. Livneh and Antonak (1997) view adjustment as a subset of
adaptation in that adjustment is the final phase of the adaptation process
connoting acceptance and acclimation to disability. This author adopted this
definition and used the model presented by Livneh and Antonak titled
Adaptation to Disability but focused on the constructs presented in the
adjustment phase of the model during the comparison analysis of this
research.
Self-Concept and Identity. For the purpose of this study, identity is
defined as a combination or cluster of experiences which one incorporates
within oneself to form a conceptual whole or complete self image (Rangell,
1994).
Awareness. Awareness means to have insight and knowledge of ones
conditions and surroundings and to be conscious. To have deficits in these
areas so that one is not conscious, alert, or knowledgeable of ones conditions


129
feeling stupid and upset that he had to go back in time as if he were a young
boy again. It was almost like being back in the second grade or something,
man. But my hand writing is neater now than ever before! So it really was
good for me to learn those things again. Besides, I can help my son with some
of his school-work a little better.
Things rehabilitation should change. Bernie stated that he had no
complaints about his rehabilitation teams efforts other than they did not help
him process some of the emotions that he was experiencing. He also thought
the rehabilitation mind exercises were not what he needed all the time. He
complied nevertheless in order to go along with the program.
Positive things about rehabilitation. Bernie stated that he was satisfied
with the efforts of his rehabilitation team. The team really listened to what his
goals and needs were and constructed a rehabilitation treatment plan that met
those needs. For instance, Bernie wanted to be independent again and help
his wife at the time to raise their baby. He also wanted to cook again. The
rehabilitation team set him up in an independent living apartment and put him
to work in the rehabilitation hospital cafeteria with a coach to help him succeed
in both places. He also felt the rehabilitation team helped him to re-establish
more meaningful values. He states, They really listened to me and did a good
job with me. They did real well considering what they had to work with, said
Bernie.
Spirituality. Bernie was the one participant who did not seem to have a
remarkable spiritual experience during or as a result of his accident. He states