Research Alert

Newswise — Abstract


The aim of this study was to explore the perceived meaning of traumatic brain injury (TBI) over the first-year postinjury among older adults and to explore if and how meaning changes.


A longitudinal multiple-case study design was used.


Semistructured face-to-face interviews were completed at 1 week and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postinjury. Transcripts were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis.


Fifty-five interviews were conducted with 12 participants. Four themes were identified: gratitude, vulnerability and dependence, slowing down and being more careful, and a chance for reflecting on life. Most participants’ perceptions of their TBI remained either consistently positive or negative over the first-year postinjury.

Clinical Relevance 

Nurses should elicit and support patients’ positive illness perceptions regarding their brain injury, which can contribute to a higher quality of life. For those patients with negative illness perceptions, nurses should provide resources in order to support coping and resilience following brain injury.


This study is the first study to explore individual perceptions over time of the meaning made from experiencing TBI among older adults. Findings can serve as a foundation for tailored supportive interventions among older adults following TBI to maximize quality of life.


Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN)

ARN is a professional organization dedicated to promoting and advancing professional rehabilitation nursing practice through education, advocacy, certification, collaboration, and research to support rehabilitation nurses and enhance the quality of life for those affected by disability and chronic illness. For more information about ARN, please visit or call 800.229.7530.



Journal Link: Rehabilitation Nursing

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Rehabilitation Nursing