Personal identity narratives of therapeutic songwriting participants following Spinal Cord Injury: a case series analysis

Chantal Roddy, Nikki Rickard, Jeanette Tamplin, Felicity Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Context/Objective: Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) patients face unique identity challenges associated with physical limitations, higher comorbid depression, increased suicidality and reduced subjective well-being. Post-injury identity is often unaddressed in subacute rehabilitation environments where critical physical and functional rehabilitation goals are prioritized. Therapeutic songwriting has demonstrated prior efficacy in promoting healthy adjustment and as a means of expression for post-injury narratives. The current study sought to examine the identity narratives of therapeutic songwriting participants.

Design: Case-series analysis of the individual identity trajectories of eight individuals.

Setting: Subacute rehabilitation facility, Victoria, Australia.

Participants: Eight individuals with an SCI; 7 males and 1 female.

Intervention: Six-week therapeutic songwriting intervention facilitated by a music therapist to promote identity rehabilitation.

Outcome Measures: Identity, subjective well-being and distress, emotional state.

Results: Three participants demonstrated positive trajectories and a further three showed negative trajectories; remaining participants were ambiguous in their response. Injury severity differentiated those with positive trajectories from those with negative trajectories, with greater injury severity apparent for those showing negative trends. Self-concept also improved more in those with positive trajectories. Core demographic variables did not however meaningfully predict the direction of change in core identity or wellbeing indices.

Conclusion: Identity-focused songwriting holds promise as a means of promoting healthy identity reintegration. Further research on benefits for those with less severe spinal injuries is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2017


  • Identity
  • Music Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Self Concept
  • Spinal Cord Injuries

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