OBJECTIVE: To investigate the course and impact of family optimism in the post-acute stage of acquired brain injury.
METHODS: At Time 1, 30 family relatives of in-patients in rehabilitation units and 30 relatives of patients recently discharged from such units completed questionnaires relating to their emotional health, engagement in the rehabilitation process and expectations about the future consequences and controllability of the injury. At Time 2 (12-18 months later), 23 of the original sample completed questionnaires about their emotional health and actual consequences and controllability of the injury.
RESULTS: At Time 1, optimism about future consequences and controllability was associated with greater engagement in the rehabilitation process and better emotional health. The two groups did not differ on any of the measures, which did not support the expectation that the patient's discharge home would trigger a loss of optimism and emotional upset for the family. At Time 2, the actual consequences were worse than had been expected at Time 1 and greater disappointment was associated with a greater decline in emotional wellbeing.
CONCLUSION: Family expectations about recovery are linked with important variables such as emotional wellbeing and engagement in the rehabilitation process and need careful management by clinicians.
- Illness perceptions
- Psychological adaptation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology