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  1. Roscigno, Cecelia I.
  2. Liew, Kevin Van

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a worldwide chronic health problem. Current empirical approaches to defining factors that contribute to a meaningful life after TBI have been limited to the biomedical perspective. Such a limited paradigm fails to address how people with TBI find meaning and act on and are acted on by the world in which they live. Between 2005 and 2007 an in-depth qualitative case study was conducted. The primary data source was a man's retrospective journal writings about his life after sustaining a severe TBI. The qualitative perspective of symbolic interactionism framed this case study analysis. Meaning is strongly influenced by the ways in which the social world interacts with the injured person. Despite an accumulation of negative social experiences, a traumatically brain-injured person can also assign positive meanings to the quality of his or her life. This has been ignored or explained away as a defense mechanism in previous investigations. More studies that include unbiased methods able to capture subjective experiences and what they mean to individuals with TBI are needed. This information will lead to more relevant interventions and better outcome instruments for use with this population.