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Research Article  |   September 1995
Impact of Spinal Cord Injury on the Life Roles of Women
Author Affiliations
  • M. Claire Quigley, MS, OTR/L, is Supervisor, Spinal Cord Injury and General Rehabilitation Care Programs, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Occupational Therapy Section, 380 Main Building, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Spinal Cord Injury / Research
Research Article   |   September 1995
Impact of Spinal Cord Injury on the Life Roles of Women
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1995, Vol. 49, 780-786. doi:10.5014/ajot.49.8.780
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1995, Vol. 49, 780-786. doi:10.5014/ajot.49.8.780
Abstract

This qualitative study was conducted to explore and describe the role experience of five women whose lives were disrupted by a traumatic spinal cord injury and who later returned to their communities after completing intensive rehabilitation programs. In-depth interviews and participant observations were used to examine the experiences of these women. The findings exemplify how the women’s use of adaptation and negotiation and the development of a new role as self-advocate facilitated the reestablishment of their life roles. As the women’s occupational roles were redefined, the processes of adaptation and negotiation were evident in three aspects of their lives: daily routines, relationships, and environment. Through their new role of self-advocate, architectural and attitudinal barriers were negotiated and adapted so that roles could be explored. These findings indicate that community reentry involves the ongoing process of negotiation and adaptation of life roles. The use of life histories during the rehabilitation phase is suggested as a way for therapists to develop meaningful treatment plans that stimulate patients’ adaptation process and ultimately enhance community reentry.