An exploratory study of social identity in adults with severe head injury in care homes: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Teh, Ying Ying (2013) An exploratory study of social identity in adults with severe head injury in care homes: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Introduction: The consequences of sustaining a head injury (HI) are varied. Recent research has begun to explore the experience of HI on identity which can, in turn, affect wellbeing. The move into a care home is also associated with changes to identity and wellbeing. Arguably changes to social identity (a form of identity based on membership to social groups) are particularly salient in this setting. Despite this, there have been no studies examining social identity in individuals with severe HI who reside in care homes.

Aims: This exploratory study examines the perceptions of adults with severe HI residing in care homes, their relatives and care staff using a social identity framework.

Methods: Eight participants from three group perspectives took part in this study (three adults with severe head injuries, two relatives and three staff carers) comprising two participant triads and one participant dyad. Semi-structured, open-ended interviews were completed and recorded with each participant on an individual basis. Transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Results: Three superordinate themes were found: doing as normality, HI as separate from the individual and being a child and an adult.

Discussion: Social identity processes of pre-injury identity loss and the acquisition of new social identities relating to the HI and being a resident in a care home are discussed. HI and the care home environment lead to perceptions of the PPs as part of a homogenous group which result in stigmatising interactions. The role of socially meaningful behaviour in mediating perceptions of the PPs is raised as well as the need to acknowledge issues relating to insight and current ability. It is unclear based on the results of this study whether needs relating to identity are met within care homes.

Conclusion: The importance of taking an individual approach to explore meaningful social activity for the PPs and the recognition of the importance of this in relatives and carers is highlighted. Further research into interventions for this population and care staff is recommended.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Head Injury, Social Identity, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, qualitative
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: McMillan, Professor Tom
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Dr Ying Teh
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4610
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2013 15:16
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2013 15:18

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