The maintenance of friendships after severe traumatic brain injury [2020]

The aim of this qualitative study was to understand processes involved in the maintenance and development of friendships after a person sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Four people with severe TBI from rural settings in Australia identified one-to-two friends to be interviewed. A total of nine friends participated in a semi-structured interview. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and data was analyzed using principles of grounded theory.

The overall conceptualisation that emerged from the data described the process of friends actively placing themselves within the friendship with the person with TBI. Two major processes were evident which enabled friends to actively place themselves within the friendship. They were (1) making sense of the TBI and its consequences and (2) maintaining normality in the friendship.

Friendships can be maintained following a TBI when friends actively place themselves within the friendships. Friends are able to do this when they make sense of the TBI and its consequences and maintain normality. There are a variety of ways that friends achieve this.

Tennille Bertram, Leanne Togher, Emma Power and Jacinta Douglas
Brain Impairment, 14 October 2020