Struggling with the labeled self: people with traumatic brain injuries in social settings

Qual Health Res. 1998 Sep;8(5):665-81. doi: 10.1177/104973239800800507.


The sense of loss of self that individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) experience when they interact with society is explored in this article. An individual with TBI believes that others possess the power to label him or her. The labels, whether their connotations are negative or positive, often contradict the individual's self-definition, making him or her feel that he or she is not understood. Many individuals with TBI devise strategies to maintain or create a shared meaning of self in society. They try to control information about themselves or change the terms applied to them. Through these strategies, people with TBI redefine themselves as objects of medical intervention while excluding brain injuries from their identities, or the essential parts of themselves.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept*
  • Sick Role
  • Social Environment*