Is it me or the injury: Students’ perspectives on adjusting to life after traumatic brain injury through participation in study

Margaret Mealings, Jacinta Douglas, John Olver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Following traumatic brain injury (TBI), participating in education often provides a pathway for returning to a student's pre-injury life. In this paper, we explore themes related to adjustment and identity that emerged from students’ reflections about their study journey. The data for this project are drawn from a longitudinal, predominantly qualitative investigation. Twelve students (aged: 17–32 years) completed up to three in-depth interviews over a period of 4–15 months, capturing a total of 30 time points. Data were analysed using grounded theory methods. A significant theme of “Is it Me or is it the Injury?” emerged from the context of students’ descriptions of self, “Me” and thoughts about their injury, “The Injury.” This emergent theme was indicative of the complex processes involved in adjusting and reshaping identity that arose from students’ participation in education. The concepts identified in this research suggest that clinicians and educators must adopt a comprehensive, holistic and flexible approach to supporting students that can be adapted to reflect the individual and dynamic processes involved.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjustment
  • Insider Perspectives
  • Participation
  • Students
  • Traumatic brain injury

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