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Identity Continuity in the Face of Biographical Disruption: ‘It's the same me’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2012

Barbara Wolfenden
Affiliation:
La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Marty Grace*
Affiliation:
Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
*
Address for correspondence: Professor Marty Grace PhD, MSW, BSW, Social Work Unit, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Footscray Park Campus, Victoria University, PO Box 14428, Melbourne 8001, Australia. E-mail: marty.grace@vu.edu.au

Abstract

In Australia, 20% of stroke survivors are aged less than 55 years. These younger survivors value age-appropriate, identity-affirming goals, such as resuming employment. This article reports on a small qualitative research project that explored the experiences of young, higher functioning stroke survivors in re-establishing identity and returning to work. The participants understood identity as both an inner sense of self and as socially and discursively constructed. The research found that the participants actively pursued identity continuity while managing biographical disruption. Resumption of life roles and responsibilities were important for identity re-establishment, but fraught, particularly the return to work. The findings suggest that psychosocial rehabilitation could play a greater role in supporting survivors’ resumption of valued life roles, including return to work.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Authors 2012

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References

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