Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

De St. Aubin, Ed

Second Advisor

Franzoi, Stephen

Third Advisor

Kaugars, Astrida

Abstract

With an increasing number of traumatic injury survivors, a better understanding of post-trauma meaning-making processes is needed, including improvement in our understanding of post-trauma narrative reconstruction. This project aimed to identify emergent themes within the life story narratives of spinal cord injured veterans and to both generate and test hypotheses regarding how emergent themes related to an indicator of post-trauma wellness. Seven themes were revealed within two specific sections of the life story interview. Findings revealed that individuals who author their life narratives in such a way as to demonstrate altruism and generativity showed significantly higher wellness. Further, narratives with a greater mention of faith, as well as those with imagined futures reflecting a more affirming tone, tended to be authored by individuals with higher levels of wellness. Results help to further our understanding of how those who have been traumatically injured construct their post-injury identity and inform our understanding of resiliency in a traumatic injury population.

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