Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) can dramatically alter a person's daily life and impact on their personal identity. For men in particular, SCI can challenge their sense of masculinity and their confidence about their place within the larger community. Researchers are working closely with a group of young men with SCI to learn more about how this issue impacts on their recovery.
The impact of SCI upon daily life has been well documented. It is known that reduced independence in terms of mobility, sexuality and basic functions can challenge a person's identity, and make a person more prone to depression.
What is lacking is an understanding of how such changes impact specifically upon masculine identity.
Given that the SCI incidence rate is 5.3 times higher for men than for women – and that SCI often occurs as a result of activities associated with heightened masculinity, this information is vital.
His team is working with 15-20 men recent SCI, analysing their life histories to understand how their sense of masculinity has been changed by their injury, how this has impacted on their recovery, and what factors have helped them to readjust.
The objective of this research is to identify how rehabilitation processes can be improved to ensure that men with SCI are enabled to develop a positive sense of self and lead meaningful lives.
This research is ongoing. Watch this space for updates.