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Experiences of adults who had a traumatic brain injury.

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A traumatic brain injury is a sudden, unprecedented injury that causes damage to the brain. Impacting an average sixty-nine million people a year, the incidence of traumatic brain injury may be described as a silent epidemic. Therefore, the objectives of this research study were to: investigate the experiences of adults who had a traumatic brain injury, to determine what changes were experienced by adults who suffered a traumatic brain injury and to explore the long-term and short-term challenges of adults who experienced a traumatic brain injury. The study utilised a qualitative research approach, with an interpretive paradigm. Additionally, an exploratory research design was implemented. Purposive sampling was employed to select eight participants for the study. Reflexive Thematic analysis was used to analyze data. The findings of the study indicated that all eight participants experienced negative alterations due to their traumatic brain injuries. The degree of negative experiences varied, and some participants indicated an interleaving of positive impacts post-injury. All participants highlighted a lack of overall awareness and understanding by the general population of their experiences and their plight. Furthermore, the findings of the study highlighted that the traumatic nature of the recovery process was especially challenging for participants, and that some turned to negative coping mechanisms to counterbalance the trauma experienced. An emergent finding of the study revealed gender differences between the seeking of emotional assistance post-injury and indicated that male traumatic brain injury survivors may likely be less inclined to seek assistance, due to the associated stigma. Further research is recommended to assess gender differences in coping with TBI and help seeking.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.