Young Persons' Constructions Prior To and Following Parental Brain Injury
Despite extensive research into the impact of brain injury on individuals and their adult relatives, much less is know about the impact of parental brain injury on child relatives. The aim of the study was to identify if there was a relationship between changes in how children construed themselves and their parents following the brain injury and adjustment, and to identify if there was a relationship between structure of the child’s construct system and level of adjustment. There were four hypotheses to be tested. Hypothesis one predicted that larger changes in how young people construe themselves and significant others following parental brain injury compared to how they were construed prior to parental brain injury would be associated with poorer adjustment. Hypothesis two predicted that more structured ‘before acquired brain injury’ constructs in comparison to the structure of ‘after acquired brain injury’ constructs would be associated with poorer adjustment. Hypothesis three predicted that more superordinate ‘before acquired brain injury’ constructs in comparison to ‘after acquired brain injury’ constructs would be associated with poorer adjustment. Hypothesis four predicted that tighter construing would be associated with better adjustment following parental brain injury. There were 10 participants in the study aged 10-17 who had a parent with a brain injury. Each participant completed a repertory grid and the Personality Inventory for Youth, a measure of adjustment. It was found that larger distances between how children construed themselves or their parents currently compared to how they were construed pre-injury were related to poorer adjustment. There was also found to be a relationship between relative intensity of the post-brain injury construct system and some aspects of adjustment. There was no significant relationship between adjustment and relative superordinancy of post-injury constructs or adjustment and tightness of construing. Future research is indicated to verify the findings of this study, and to explore possible interventions for young people experiencing poor adjustment following parental brain injury.