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The Importance of Hope in Coping with Catastrophic Injury

Pat Dorsett

This paper presents research findings about the role of hope in the coping process related to adjustment following catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injury. Qualitative findings about the role of hope from the perspective of the person with spinal cord injury will be discussed. This data was collected as part of a ten year longitudinal year study of an Australian sample of 46 people who sustained spinal cord injury. Respondents were interviewed at discharge from hospital 6, 12,24,36, months post discharge and again at ten years post discharge. The interviews consisted of a semi structured qualitative interview focusing on the adjustment process. It was found that 73 % of the participants identified hope as an essential factor that helped them following their injury. Three main foci of hope emerged from the data set: 1.Hope for a full and complete recovery 2.Hope for a cure for spinal cord injury 3.Hope for a future life that was satisfying. For many hope continued to be important in helping them cope with the long-term consequences of their injuries. The respondents identified the importance of hope in their overall adjustment and coping process. Implications for working with people who sustain catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injury are discussed.

Recorded: July 2010 Brisbane, Australia
Coping Resilience & Hope Building, Asia Pacific Regional Conference
: The Brisbane Institute of Strengths Based Practice

Pat Dorsett
Pat Dorsett
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Pat Dorsett

Pat is a senior lecturer in the Griffith University, School of Human Services and Social Work with extensive experience in working'with people with spinal cord iniury. Her research interests include the links between the coping process and rehabilitation outcomes for people with severe acquired disability.

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Australia Society for Psychological MedicineANZAPWorld Council for PyschtherapyPACFABrisbane Institute of Strength Base PraticeISHHR - International Society for Health and Human RightWAS - World Association for Sexual HealthMissing of HopeAABCAPSTARTTSANSA