First Advisor

Hugo Maynard

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science: Psychology


Systems Science: Psychology




Brain damage -- Patients -- Rehabilitation -- Case studies, Brain -- Wounds and injuries -- Patients -- Rehabilitation -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 250 pages)


The development of emergency department medical interventions and the implementation of fast-transport trauma systems has decreased the rate of death resulting from traumatic brain injury (TBI). Without corresponding methods for long-term treatment and recovery, the prevalence of people disabled by TBI has increased, creating a growing public health problem. Investigations generated by physicians, rehabilitation programs, and social scientists, which attempt to associate standard measures of injury severity with outcome, leave unexplained variance in long-term functional status for persons with TBI.

The purpose of this investigation was to use persons with brain injury and their family members, to guide an analysis of the factors that foster successful recovery from brain injury. Three studies were conducted. In Study #1, the method for observation generated by Kurt Goldstein (1934) was adopted to conduct 20 case studies of persons who sustained brain injury. The Schema of the EsEx Couple (Maynard. 1992) was used to orient the investigation. The EsEx Couple Schema proposes that events in human life must be understood by considering the whole system of Person (Essence) in the Environment (Exchange), and the transactions that flow in a recursive loop from Person to Environment and back. Kurt Goldstein's Laws of Organismic Life (1934), a model consistent with that of the EsEx Couple, was used to evaluate the data. Strong patterns associated family and social networks, autonomy, and perceived self-determination with higher levels of recovery, and were used to generate a Model for Recovery.

In Study #2. the Motivational Analysis of Self-Systems Processes (Connell & Wellborn, 1991) was combined with results from Study #1 to generate a Development Model, and to build a survey which was administered to 248 persons with brain injury. Results (1) confirmed the model, indicating factors that contribute to recovery were hypothesized measures of Social Context, Perception, and Engagement; and (2) established a valid instrument, generated by persons with brain injury and their families, for measuring functional status.

In Study #3. results of the survey research were used to return to the case studies to consider where individual lives differ from expected patterns, and why. Deviations from expected patterns were explored to identify how individual differences operate to affect outcome. Recommendations for clinical practice include (1) directing interventions toward family as well as patient, as a method of enhancing the Social Context for the patient, and (2) using careful evaluation of each patient's idiosyncrasies to consider individual interventions.


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