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Women with spinal cord injuries underwent a process of discomfort, moving towards comfort, and comfort in dealing with their changed bodies

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K Yoshida

Dr K Yoshida, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; karen.yoshida@utoronto.ca

QUESTION

How do women with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) feel about living with their changed bodies?

DESIGN

Secondary analysis of semi-structured interviews using a modified grounded theory method.

SETTING

6 cities in Ontario, Canada.

PARTICIPANTS

15 women, 18–60 years of age, who had incomplete or complete quadriplegia or paraplegia.

METHODS

Women were interviewed for 2 hours on their perceptions of rehabilitation and recommendations for improving the process. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded; 20 codes related to 2 themes (self/self-image/self-concept and change with SCI) were extracted for secondary analysis using memoing, integration of codes, and concept development.

MAIN FINDINGS

A 3-phase process reflected the experiences of women living with physical body changes due to SCIs. (1) Discomfort. Initially, women felt “ill at ease” with body changes and struggled to integrate their new body image with their sense of self. Early stages of rehabilitation were associated with generally negative emotions about self, particularly because of the challenge of accepting a new physical appearance and lifestyle adjustments. Loss …

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