Perceptions of self-efficacy and rehabilitation among neurologically disabled adults

Guy Dixon, Everard W Thornton, Carolyn A Young

The purpose of this study was to explore the constructs relevant to self-efficacy in neurological rehabilitation. This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews with 24 patients with experience of inpatient rehabilitation. Participants were aged between 17-59 years at onset, with diagnoses of stroke, traumatic brain injury or other monophasic neurological impairment.

Eleven themes emerged from the data that reflect self-efficacy beliefs: self-reliance and independence were deemed important and many patients recognized the importance of determination, making time to take an active role and working in partnership with the multidisciplinary team. Patients had complex information needs but were able to use goal setting and the vicarious experiences of other inpatients to map out the stages of their own recovery. The authors found that it was important for patients to be able to recognize for themselves that they were making progress and that they valued external reassurance on this from other patients, staff and visitors. A number of difficulties were identified that interfered with their developing self-efficacy in rehabilitation, such as structuring their time.

The authors found that patients consistently identified 11 factors falling within themes of self, others and process, and that these influenced their self-efficacy to participate in neurological rehabilitation. They concluded that patients consider rehabilitation in terms of either ‘adaptation’ or ‘recovery.’ 

Clinical Rehabilitation, 2007, 21 (3), 230-240

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