Research Reports - Post-traumatic growth, illness perceptions and coping in people with acquired brain injury

Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2013 May 24

Rogan C, Fortune DG, Prentice G

Post-traumatic growth is a process by which an individual who has faced a
significantly adverse and life-altering event, can show evidence of an ability
meaningfully to construe benefits from such adversity. The purpose of this study
was to investigate, in a sample of people with acquired brain injury (ABI), the
contribution of illness perceptions, distress, disability, and coping strategies
and health to post-traumatic growth. Seventy people with an ABI took part in this
cross-sectional investigation, comprising 70% males and 30% females. Traumatic
brain injury accounted for the majority of brain injuries (56%), with 31% arising
from a cerebrovascular accident and the remaining 13% arising from hypoxia, brain
tumours, brain abcesses and encephalitis. The average time since injury was 70.43
months (SD = 55.30, range = 7-350). Participants completed assessments comprising
post-traumatic growth (Post-traumatic Growth Inventory), beliefs about their
condition (Illness Perception Questionnaire Revised), coping strategies (Brief
COPE), anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and
functional disability (Functional Independence Measure and Functional Assessment
Measure). All participants were accessing post-acute brain injury rehabilitation
and support services. Results showed that greater levels of post-traumatic growth
were associated with greater use of adaptive coping strategies (r=.597), lower
levels of distress (r = -.241) and stronger beliefs about treatment-induced
controllability of the effects arising from brain injury (r=.263). Greater use of
adaptive coping strategies accounted for the greater proportion of the variance
in post-traumatic growth (sr (2)  = 0.287) and was the only variable found to
make a unique and statistically significant contribution to the prediction of
growth. Illness perceptions more generally were not significantly associated with
growth experiences. This study provides additional evidence of the factors
associated with the process of post-traumatic growth, in particular adaptive
coping strategies that may help to facilitate growth, although the direction of
this relationship requires further empirical investigation. The findings of this
study may have implications for professionals providing neurorehabilitation

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