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"Take this job and love it". Employment and quality of life from the perspective of persons with traumatic brain injury: A multiple case study

Ruth A Tempelmann, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the role of employment and quality of life for persons with traumatic brain injury. Four survivors of traumatic brain injury were asked to participate. Criteria for selection were: (1) Survivor of a traumatic brain injury. (2) Ability to participate in a rigorous study. (3) Sufficient communication skills to respond to interview questions. (4) No behavioral threat to the researcher. (5) Work experience. (6) Between the ages of 20 and 60. ^ A multiple case study methodology was used. Interview protocol consisted of semi-structured, open-ended questions addressing each participant's pre-injury work history, current employment status, deficits related to traumatic brain injury, friendships, emotional health, transportation, job satisfaction, finances, family support, community activities, and future goals. Recorded interviews were transcribed and used as data for case descriptions and subsequent theme identification. ^ Data analysis sought out both within-case and cross-case themes. Within-case analysis found emerging themes of pride, determination, value of work, insight, social involvement, reluctance, alcohol, kindness, effects of brain injury, and spirituality unique to each participant. Themes common to all participants were pre- and post-injury employment, lack of self-pity, appreciation of maintaining a job, purpose to the day, earned income, humor, future goals, role of work, perception of general unemployability, and quality of life. ^ Results of this study indicated that the participants expressed an appreciation of returning to work, regardless of the level and type of job or their pre-injury job status. Families and friends of survivors of traumatic brain injury, as well as rehabilitation professionals are challenged by return-to-work issues when considering employment as a contributor to quality of life. For the participants in this study, maintaining employment in any job capacity contributed to their quality of life, even though job satisfaction may be low. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Education, Vocational

Recommended Citation

Tempelmann, Ruth A, ""Take this job and love it". Employment and quality of life from the perspective of persons with traumatic brain injury: A multiple case study" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9992011.