The purpose of this qualitative empirical phenomenological study was to explore and describe the essence and meanings of experiencing a return-to-work, following a spinal cord injury, as ascribed by a minimum of 15 people with a spinal cord injury in Los Angeles, California. Only a very small number of persons with a spinal cord injury ever return to work post-injury. Despite the increasingly high numbers of spinal cord injuries that occur every year, the employment rates continue to remain low. Through a qualitative method and an empirical phenomenological design, the investigator explored and described the internal subjective structures of experiencing a successful return to work after a spinal cord injury. Participants with a spinal cord injury in Los Angeles, CA underwent a semi-structured, one-on-one, face-to-face interview and addressed the central research question of the study. Results of the study identified seven themes that participants endorsed after participating in interviews where they got to narrate their lived experiences of return-to-work after their spinal cord injury. The themes are as follows: adjustment, readjustment, obstacles, physiological challenges, support, stamina, and endurance. Results of the study testified to the significant relationship between emotional adjustment and employment status among persons with a spinal cord injury. The essence of the experience of people returning to work is one of regaining a feeling of normalcy after incurring a life-altering injury and coming to the realization that all will be okay and that they will learn to live with their limitations. Some will find meaning in their choice of career, others find meaning in athletic abilities, or artistic endeavors. Once a person is stabilized after the injury, both physically and psychologically, then the person will be ready to consider a return-to-work option.
|Commitee:||Stein, Irene F|
|School Location:||United States -- Colorado|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Occupational psychology, Disability studies, Occupational Therapy|
|Keywords:||Meaning Making, Post-Traumatic Growth, Return to Work, Spinal Cord Injury, Vocational Rehabilitation|
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