The storied self: the effects of spinal cord injury on identity narratives

Griffin-Fillier, Lorna (2014) The storied self: the effects of spinal cord injury on identity narratives. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This study examines the effects of spinal cord injury on identity narratives and the role of narration in the transformation of self following the injury. The purpose was to uncover what the stories, told by individuals with a spinal cord injury, can tell us about the transformation of identity after a forced identity transition, a transition that is neither desired, anticipated or chosen. Using narrative analysis, five narrative types were revealed: 1) Second Chance, 2) Familial, 3) Transition, 4) Rehabilitation, and 5) Explanation. Three main themes evident within the narrative types included: personal identity, autonomy and control, and social identity pertaining to peer role and family. The findings revealed both personal narratives and reflections on experiences during three stages of transition — pre, during and post injury and how events from each of these stages were pieced together within a broader narrative that reflected participants’ attempts to present and create a coherent identity. The study has implications for individuals who encounter moments of shifting identities while attempting to create a new self, as well as for practice where narration is seen as a viable option in adjustment and transition work with individuals. Findings take into consideration the influence and power of the social worker in the co-construction (narration) of stories post injury.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 8301
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 138-144).
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: June 2014
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Spinal cord--Wounds and injuries--Psychological aspects; Identity (Psychology); Narrative inquiry (Research method)

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