Improving Well-Being after TBI through Structured Volunteer Activity

Project Type
Independent
Principal Investigator Name
Cynthia Harrison-Felix, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator Email
Start Date:
10/1/2012
End Date:
9/30/2017
Participating Centers:
Target Population(s):
Project Website:
Abstract:
While attaining a sense of well-being is a primary goal of TBI rehabilitation, it remains elusive for many with TBI. Individuals with TBI tend to score in the marginal range on life satisfaction measures for many years after injury, to score low on subjective well-being measures, and to have high rates of psychological “ill-being,” i.e. anxiety and depression. Volunteer activity has the potential to improve well-being after TBI. It has been found to be related to psychological health, happiness, life satisfaction, and self-esteem in the general population, all of which are components of well-being, and which are difficult to obtain for individuals with TBI. Volunteering may provide a protective factor against emotional distress, which could provide a therapeutic avenue for improving emotional adjustment after TBI. The goal of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of a novel structured intervention for assisting individuals with TBI to successfully participate in volunteer programs and to evaluate the effect of this participation in volunteer activity upon their well-being. Since few individuals with TBI typically volunteer, the intervention could potentially provide many with an option for improving their well-being even years after injury.