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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Social participation, quality of life and attendance at brain injury drop-in centres : an exploration study McLean, Alison May


Introduction: Many individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience long term or life-long changes in social participation and quality of life, including social isolation, loneliness, reduced involvement in social and leisure activities, decreased social support networks and reduced satisfaction with life. There are few community-based interventions available to address these issues, and little research on their effectiveness. The brain injury drop-in centre (BIDC) is an innovative model of long-term support not yet addressed in the literature. Purpose: (a) To determine if there is a relationship between social participation and subjective quality of life (SQOL) for community-dwelling individuals with TBI. (b) To compare social participation and SQOL for individuals with TBI who attend BIDCs with individuals who do not attend but who have been identified as potentially benefitting from attending. Methods: Subjects. Participants were 23 individuals recruited from BIDCs (‘BIDC group’) and 19 individuals recruited through community-based clinicians and service providers (‘Comparison group’). The Comparison group was found to consist of 7 participants who stated that maybe they would attend a BIDC but for the most part were too busy to attend (‘Maybe group’), and 12 participants who stated that yes they would attend but were not aware of BIDCs or experienced a contextual barrier to attendance (‘Yes group’). Design. A cross sectional design was implemented with convenience sampling. Results: The correlational analysis (Chapter Two) showed statistically significant associations involving SQOL and the social and subjective measures of social participation. The comparison study (Chapter Three) found the BIDC group to have, on average, higher levels of SQOL and social participation than the Comparison group, in particular as compared to the Yes group. Conclusions: This exploratory study contributes to the TBI literature in showing that it is the more subjective and not objectively measured nature of participation that is associated with SQOL. Findings provide tentative support that attendance at BIDCs may benefit social participation and SQOL. This study provides a foundation for more rigorous quantitative investigation of the effectiveness and efficacy of BIDCs, as well as direction for qualitative studies to further explore social participation, SQOL and the experience of attending BIDCs.

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