Author(s): Griffiths HC, Clinpsy D, Kennedy P
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Research into the psychological sequelae of spinal cord injury (SCI) has focused on reports of psychological distress, despite the low prevalence rates of mental health difficulties. Positive psychological frameworks have begun to explore how some individuals do not report psychological distress, while appraisals have been posited as possible mediators of psychological outcome. Research into positive psychological outcomes in people with SCI is still in its infancy. OBJECTIVE: To provide a description of the positive psychological outcomes experienced by people reporting low levels of psychological distress, to generate an understanding of how these individuals explain their positive outcomes, and to consider the implications for research, theory, and practice. METHOD: Six participants (2 female, 4 male) reporting low levels of psychological distress were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule exploring their experiences. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to analyze data. RESULTS: THREE SUPERORDINATE THEMES WERE IDENTIFIED: "living a normal life, just doing things differently," "overcoming challenges: determination to succeed," and "using the resources available to me." The description and explanation of a positive psychological outcome was complex. For participants, positive psychological outcomes did not exclude experiencing psychological difficulty; moreover, they described an ability to overcome difficulty. Challenge-focused appraisals, social support, and meaningful activity were identified by participants as being important to psychological outcome. CONCLUSIONS: Positive psychological outcomes following SCI are complex, and research and theory need to better understand the experience of individuals following SCI in order to inform clinical practice.
This article was published in Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation