Family members’ narratives of lifespace: Mapping changes before and after a brain injury causing driving disruption Academic Article uri icon


  • Family members of a person with an acquired brain injury often provide transport assistance during driving disruption with potential impacts on their own travel and participation within the community. The geographic area in which people travel and conduct their activities is known as lifespace. This study aimed to describe the quantitative changes in family members' lifespace after brain injury and understand their subjective experiences through interacting with maps during narratives.Mapping was embedded within in-depth semi-structured interviews with 15 family members. Two sets of maps were generated per participant showing the number of travel locations before and after brain injury. In the interviews, participants reflected on the perceived meaning of lifespace change. Qualitative data were analysed using a narrative approach.Quantitative data from the mapping revealed an increase in travel locations for nine participants, a decrease for five, and no change for one participant. Data analysis revealed four typologies which complemented and enriched the quantitative data: (i) I will do everything for him or her; (ii) Trying to fit all in; (iii) We spend all our time together now; (iv) I need to also care for myself.The findings describe the change in family members' lifespace after taking on the driver role following acquired brain injury. This study highlights the importance of understanding both quantitative and qualitative aspects of lifespace. The subjective experiences and consequences of lifespace changes are different from the impact on individuals with health conditions. Mapping in an interview as a tool has potential clinical utility.

publication date

  • 2016