Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Lauren Woods



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Chair

Denise Winsor

Committee Member

Alison Happel-Parkins

Committee Member

Christopher Mueller

Committee Member

Anne Zachry


The numbers of individuals acquiring brain injuries in childhood is increasing. The deficits caused by brain injury can often have long term implications that require support from caregivers, friends, and the community. The purpose of this pragmatic multiple case study was to gain deeper understanding of the lived experiences of individuals and their primary caregivers after traumatic brain injury to improve functional outcomes such as quality of life and overall independence with daily living skills. Data were collected via a document search of publications from reputable, commonly accessed periodicals to gain understanding of conversations occurring in the popular media regarding traumatic brain injury. In addition, interviews were conducted with individuals who had sustained traumatic brain injury and their primary caregivers. Each of these pairings of brain injury survivors and their caregivers was considered a unique, discrete case. Five cases are included in this study. Each case was analyzed individually to identify themes and concepts that fostered resilience as well as delayed recovery after brain injury. A cross-case analysis was also conducted to gain insight into common themes and concepts across the five cases that attributed to resilience and delayed recovery. Consistent with the literature, the main findings from this study illustrate factors that are essential for resilience and recovery after traumatic brain injury include education level and intellect prior to injury, supportive relationships, and characteristics related to motivation. Primary unmet needs of individuals and caregivers after brain injury revealed gaps in community resources and a lack of collaboration and support among medical professionals. This knowledge of what fostered individual and family resilience can be used to inform professionals and support systems to identify interventions that can be implemented to increase resilience in individuals and families.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest