The experience of identity transformation process for people living with tetraplegia and paraplegia = El proceso de reconstrucción de la identidad de las personas afectadas de una paraplejia o tetraplejia

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is perceived as a source of biographical disruption, not only at a physical level but also in terms of people’s life stories, their motivation and their self-esteem. The aim of this study is to explore the factors that people with spinal cord injuries perceive as contributing to rebuilding their sense of self. Two focus groups were established from the SCI community, one of which was made up of 14 people with paraplegia and the other of 9 people with tetraplegia. In addition, four individual interviews were conducted with the participants. The results of content analysis show that the two most prominent factors in the process of identity renegotiation are the partial transformation of the subject’s identity followed by a coming to terms with that new identity. To rebuild self-worth, the importance of finding a balance between change and continuity was identified. Renegotiation of identity after a spinal cord injury is a complex phenomenon that greatly influences the SCI individual’s quality of life perceptions. Reaching a balance between the changes experienced due to the injury and finding a sense of continuity can be either facilitated or obstructed by the economic, political, legal, architectural, and social context ​
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