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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Biographical disruption and the experience of loss following a spinal cord injury: An interpretative phenomenological analysis
Authors: Dickson, Adele
Allan, David
O'Carroll, Ronan
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Keywords: Spinal cord injury, loss, identity, incontinence, IPA
Issue Date: May-2008
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Dickson A, Allan D & O'Carroll R (2008) Biographical disruption and the experience of loss following a spinal cord injury: An interpretative phenomenological analysis, Psychology and Health, 23 (4), pp. 407-425.
Abstract: Individual in-depth interviews with eight people who had experienced a total spinal cord injury were conducted, focussing on the experience of living with a spinal cord injury. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and were analysed for recurrent themes using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Here we present three inter-related recurrent themes: 'Loss of control'; 'Loss of independence' and 'Loss of identity'. Participants reported an ongoing sense of loss, characterised largely by a diminishing sense of personal control. This loss of personal control manifested itself in incontinence, emotion and loss of movement. Helplessness and embarrassment were common responses. A loss of independence was associated with incontinence but also with a loss of spontaneity. A loss of identity ensued and participants reported feeling 'invisible'. The findings are discussed in relation to both extant spinal cord literature and chronic health literature. Recommendations for future research are suggested.
Type: Journal Article
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Affiliation: Psychology
Southern General Hospital

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