Journal Article

That’s Not My Child Anymore! Parental Grief after Acquired Brain Injury (ABI): Incidence, Nature and Longevity*

Catherine Collings

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 8, pages 1499-1517
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online August 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm055
That’s Not My Child Anymore! Parental Grief after Acquired Brain Injury (ABI): Incidence, Nature and Longevity*

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It is estimated that 12,900 of the 39,200 Australians who sustain an acquired brain injury (ABI) each year live on with severe or profound permanent disability (BIAQ, 2006a). This project explores parental grief in response to the loss of normative lifespan development associated with ABI sustained in late adolescence or adulthood. While many people with ABI lack insight regarding the impact of their brain injury, for their parents, there is often an acute awareness of the loss which has occurred: the loss of a ‘normal’ future, and the loss of all the hopes and dreams associated with such ‘normal’ development. Moreover, it has been argued that this loss is ongoing: it is nonfinite, with parents having to make adjustments as the full impact of their child’s injury is realized across the lifespan. Available literature predicts parental grief as a response to this kind of loss, but there is a lack of empirical evidence about the incidence, nature or longevity of grief among this population due to the research focus on care-giver burden and stress rather than family grief. This paper discusses the experiences of parental grief and resilience as reported by a non-random sample of affected families, and the implications for social work practice.

Keywords: acquired brain injury; nonfinite loss; parental grief

Journal Article.  7798 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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