This study aims to explore, and to a certain extent to clarify, what it means psychologically to experience Traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) in a South African spinal unit. The target time chosen for analysis is the acute medical period. The study presents a review of the literature on psychological adjustment to TSCI and then proceeds to introduce and extensively articulate the hermeneutic approach and methodology, Subsequently, an interpretive research strategy is presented for the purpose of studying the acute phase of TSCI. The data for the study was obtained by means of three dialogical interviews which were tape recorded, transcribed and analyzed within a cyclical framework of three interdependent levels. The interpretive procedure is modeled upon the reading guide developed by Brown, Tappan, Gilligan, Miller and Argyris. The analysis follows a course from the individual psychological descriptions of the experience to the generation of a general, nomothetic narrative account of the acute phase. The findings are then discussed in relation to the existing literature and evaluated on the basis of the goals of the study. The study highlights the value of some of the stage ways of thinking about SCI adjustment, while simultaneously stressing the need for placing adjustment within a more personalized, and individually meaningful context. Significant differences between the psycho-physical experiences of patients in the categories of complete and incomplete SCI were found, which suggests that a sharper distinction be made in the literature between these two groups, in order to account for the marked variations in their experiences. The study also contains a number of shortcomings, such as a lack of understanding about.certain historical and contextual factors which may have mediated the experiences of the trauma for the individuals concerned. These shortcomings and some suggestions for their resolution are then discussed.
|Degree Type||Masters degree|