The student journey: Living and learning following traumatic brain injury

Margaret Mealings, Professor Jacinta Douglas, Professor John Olver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Primary objective: In this research we set out to gain further understanding of the experiences of students participating in secondary and tertiary education following TBI: exploring academic and non-academic factors, as well as changes in experiences over time. Methods and procedures: A longitudinal, qualitative investigation was completed. 12 students (17–32 years) completed up to three in-depth interviews over a period of 4–15 months, capturing atotal of 30 time points. Data were analyzed using grounded theory methods. Main outcomes and results: Students’ participation experiences were unique and varied with different timelines and outcomes, however they shared many similar critical points. We interpreted their experiences as a student journey traveling through four significant landscapes, “Choosing to study”, “Studying”, “Deciding what to do”, “Making the next step.” Journeys involved complex processes of living and learning. Moving along the pathway was not always smooth or straightforward. Conclusions: Students’ experiences of returning to study following TBI can be interpreted as a complex journey of living and learning. Four important stages of the journey provide clinicians and educators with landscape features that can provide a structure for exploring supports to address both academic and non-academic factors to assist students in their study journey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-334
Number of pages20
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Education
  • Rehabilitation
  • Student Perspectives
  • Traumatic brain injury

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