Maternal narratives about their child's identity following acquired brain injury

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The aim of this study was to explore differences in how mothers perceive the identity of their child after acquired brain injury and the emotions associated with these different perceptions. Five mothers of children who had sustained a brain injury were interviewed and the data were analysed using thematic analysis to obtain the mothers’ narratives about what had happened to their child’s identity as a result of the injury. Three general narratives are described: a child with problems, in which the problems of the child dominated the perception of the child’s identity and the post-injury child was viewed as fundamentally different from the pre-injury child; an improving child, in which the child’s progress and achievements figured prominently, and the post-injury child was viewed as having an identity continuous with that of the pre-injury child; and an improved child, in which the post-injury child was viewed as fundamentally different and improved compared to the pre-injury child. These narratives were associated with different emotional responses: A child with problems was associated with a sense of burden, grief and anxiety about the future. These emotions were relatively absent from the other two narratives, and an improving child was associated with a sense of relief, pride and optimism.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1154308
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalCogent Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2016


  • acquired brain injury, family carers, family relationships, identity, narratives

ASJC Scopus subject areas