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Man, D. W. (2002). Family caregivers’ reactions and coping for persons with brain injury. Brain injury, 16(12), 1025-1037.

Background: This study was a follow-up of a previous study on the empowerment of families caring for Chinese persons with brain injury. Objective: The present study examined, in a qualitative way, the impact of brain injury on the family and the complex array of factors that appears to be related to effective family coping and their independence. The reactions of families under stress and their coping strategies are summarized. Individual families’ differences in terms of an empowerment framework are discussed for possible guidance in family intervention. Method: Individual families were interviewed using open-ended questions, their responses and the verbatim transcripts of long interviews performed with selected families were examined. Results: A total of 50 family members were successfully recruited for interview. They were found to show typical coping strategies, including shock and uncertainty, which are suggested to be relating closely to the nature of brain injury and the difficulties in managing it. The physical and psychological burdens involved in caring for members with brain injury were also reflected. Content analysis of the long interviews of four selected families showed that it was not every family that coped well. Possible factors leading to better adjustment, such as clear personal expectations, a desire to master the situation, strong motivation, flexibility to adjust life goals and awareness of one’s own powerless state are proposed. Conclusion: The results indicated that family coping varies with individual families and should be explored further for the development of intervention guidelines.