Critical issues in interviewing people with traumatic brain injury

Qual Health Res. 2002 Mar;12(3):399-409. doi: 10.1177/104973202129119973.


People with cognitive impairments often cannot effectively recall and articulate experiences, feelings, and perceptions. Therefore, interviewing them can be fraught with pragmatic and methodological difficulties. Given this situation, the authors' experience in a study on the allocation of rehabilitative services to survivors of traumatic brain injury is discussed. Participants had physiological impairments affecting their ability to focus on interview questions. The authors discuss the unique challenges, including participants' recall of events, intolerance to stimuli, and image management and offer strategies for mitigating these concerns. The traditional view that reality is captured only in the subjective accounts of articulate people who can remember events in a precise and reflective manner is challenged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Research Design*
  • Self Concept
  • Self Disclosure
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • United States