'You’re someone different': using social identity approach to health, and appraisal theories to understand impact and response to traumatic injury

Bridger, K.M. ORCID: 0000-0002-4215-4927, 2024. 'You’re someone different': using social identity approach to health, and appraisal theories to understand impact and response to traumatic injury. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Injuries are a worldwide health problem, representing 9% of global mortality. Survivors of traumatic injury may experience loss of function/disability, reduced quality of life, problems returning to work and psychological issues. Despite this impact, evidence on psychological mechanisms that impact recovery and return is fragmented and mostly atheoretical. This thesis applies a multiple-theoretical framework to qualitatively explore the psychological impact and responses to traumatic injury, especially in relation to return to work.


Three data sets were analysed using theoretically informed reflexive thematic analysis informed by appraisal theories and the social identity approach to health. Analysis aimed to explore whether social identity context contributed to stress appraisal and coping processes, accounting for some of the social-psychological contributions to injury perception identified in current literature.

Studies 1 and 3 used data generated (mostly by the thesis author) for a larger programme of research to develop and trial a clinical intervention to support trauma survivors’ return to work (www.rowtate.org.uk). Study 2 data was collected independently by the author with a specific focus on psycho-social mechanisms experienced by trauma survivors.

Key Findings:

Survivors and service providers appraised work identity threat from impairments that disrupted work participation. The associated disruption of work identity resources (purpose; connection) negatively impacted wellbeing. Survivors perceived new disability as incompatible with valued work identity. Survivors appraised the availability of workplace social support in relation to continuity of work identity. A key theoretical contribution of this thesis is that combining appraisal theories and social identity approach to health allows identifying key mechanisms for recovery and return to work among traumatic injured individuals.

Findings have important practice implications that can be used to a) develop interventions to support recovery (including RTW), b) address gap in understanding between professionals and patients, and c) integrate psycho-social understanding in future research on traumatic injuries.

Item Type: Thesis
Description: Abridged version
Creators: Bridger, K.M.
Kellezi, B.Thesis supervisorPSY3KELLEBorcid.org/0000-0003-4825-3624
Serfioti, D.Thesis supervisorPSY3SERFIDorcid.org/0000-0003-4175-0652
Date: February 2024
Rights: The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 28 Jun 2024 14:22
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 14:22
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/51651

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