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Griffith, Australia

Silva J.,Griffith Institute of Health | Ownsworth T.,Griffith Institute of Health | Shields C.,Griffith Institute of Health | Fleming J.,University of Queensland | Fleming J.,Center for Functioning and Health Research
Brain Impairment | Year: 2011

Preliminary research supports that acquired brain injury (ABI) can act as a catalyst for positive psychological changes, and that such posttraumatic growth (PTG) increases with time since injury. In this study, posttraumatic growth refers to positive psychological changes in domains including interpersonal relationships, new possibilities, personal strength, spirituality and appreciation for life. This study aimed to identify associations between levels of subjective impairment and depressive symptoms at discharge, and PTG at 6-months postdischarge following ABI. Sixty participants (73% male) with ABI (Mean days of hospitalisation = 32.92, SD = 40.74) were consecutively recruited from an inpatient rehabilitation unit at discharge and were administered measures of subjective impairment (Mayo-Portland Adaptability Index-4; MPAI-4) and depression (Depression, Anxiety Stress Scales; DASS). Participants were followed up at 6-months postdischarge and administered the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory, DASS and MPAI-4. The results indicated that levels of PTG reported at six months postdischarge were relatively modest and ranged between no to very small degree of change ('spirituality') and a small to moderate degree of change ('a greater appreciation of life'). Level of subjective impairment at discharge significantly predicted overall level of PTG at 6-months follow-up (β =.40, p <.05, sr 2 =.28). Further, at 6-months postdischarge, individuals with a greater appreciation for life reported significantly higher levels of subjective impairment (r =.35; p <.01) and depressive symptoms (r =.34, p <.01) at that time point. These findings indicate that individuals who perceive greater functional consequences of their ABI are more likely to experience PTG. Further, the process of reevaluating priorities and values in life after ABI may be associated with emotional distress during the early stages of community reintegration.

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