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
Pages (from-to)435-443
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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