Exploring Body-Related Experiences among Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury
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Using modified constructivist grounded theory, the purpose of the present study was to explore body-related experiences, specifically body image, in people with spinal cord injury. A total of nine participants (five women, four men) who had a broad range of body image experiences (from very negative to very positive) were interviewed. Most participants explained experiencing a fluctuating body image that varied from day-to-day. Negative body image experiences were represented by appearance, weight concerns, and function with all body image experiences encompassed by self-presentational concerns and tactics (an unanticipated finding). Positive body image was represented by acceptance, appreciation and gratitude of the body. Interestingly, negative body image experiences were not found to be represented by the opposite of positive body image experiences as they were each distinct. These findings have direct implications for medical professionals in hospital and rehabilitation settings to understand the importance of body image after spinal cord injury.