Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master Of Science In Nursing

Colleges & School

Ruth S. Coleman College Of Nursing And Health Sciences

First Advisor

Nancy Cervanansky, PhD, RN

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Caregivers; Spinal cord--Wounds and injuries


Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) results in a devastating disability that affects not only the individual victim but also the entire family system. Many family members find themselves taking on the role of primary caregiver for their loved one living with SCI. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of family caregivers of SCI survivors. The search for potential stressors affecting caregivers was explored. Findings from this study are intended to provide input into specific nursing interventions that can be used to better prepare the caregiver for that role. This study was conducted using a qualitative research design. Two singular case studies were used to explore the caregiving experience from a holistic approach. Interviews, observations, and a journaling activity comprised a triangular approach to data collection and enhanced the rigor of this study. Multiple recurrent concepts extracted from the literature provided an organizational framework to categorize, present, and interpret the data gathered. Major themes of emotional issues, role changes, and health problems revealed factors influencing the lived experience of family caregivers of SCI survivors. Emotional issues revealed feelings of anxiety, anger, and depression. Role changes witnessed included role ambiguity, role overload, role reversal, and role challenge. Finally, the participants in this study revealed health problems consisting of fatigue, headaches, and neglect in seeking medical attention for other health problems.


Open Access

OCLC Number


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Included in

Nursing Commons