A qualitative exploration of fatherhood after acquired brain injury (ABI)

Karen Cregan, Audrey Daisley, Catherine Ford, Fergus Gracey

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Abstract

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) significantly affects individuals across multiple areas of intimate, familial, and parental domains. Gender and identity are pivotal research areas in navigating life after ABI. To date, scant research has explored gendered experiences, particularly those related to the masculine lifeworld. This study aimed to explore how men who were fathers before their injuries experience fatherhood after ABI. An Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) methodology was used, and seven fathers participated in the semi-structured interviews (time since injury 1-18 years, age range 27-66 years) which explored their meaning-making. Four superordinate themes were drawn from all interviews through engaging with the qualitative research process: (1) what being a father means, (2) altered relationships with others, (3) becoming lost and finding their way through, and (4) renewed fatherhood. The findings show intersectionality between pre-and post-injury comparisons of self and social identities, alongside the contextual and societal identities in the subjective fathering experiences. Through increased understanding, we may enable fathers to find new ways to resolve, reformulate, and connect to move into their future possible fatherhood. The importance of this research is in giving voice to these less represented men so that we may shape our understanding to aid future fathers post-ABI.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Early online date7 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Acquired brain injury
  • Lived experience
  • adjustment
  • fathers' Identity reconstruction
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis

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