Psychosocial impact of smart-technology use in acute rehabilitation
Cleary, Louise M.
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Assistive Technology may play a critical role in the rehabilitation of persons with acquired spinal cord injury. Smart-technologies, i.e. Internet enabled mobile technologies, are contemporary forms of assistive technology, and are valued tools in clinical rehabilitation therapies and in the community. While the utilization of smart-technology can be advantageous to measures of occupational performance and functional independence, limited research exists examining the psychosocial impact of smart-technology use on subjective well-being and quality of life. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, the present research employed an exploratory, mixed-methods, multiple case study design to examine the psychosocial impact of smart-technology use in acute rehabilitation. A sample of eight males with spinal cord injury, attending acute rehabilitation was recruited over a four month period. Analyses of the mixed-methods data yielded rich findings regarding the impacting role of smart-technologies for the men involved in this study. Access to social supports, entertainment media, and information searching were established as the most meaningful functions afforded by the technologies, and an overarching theme of 'self-driven rehabilitation' emerged as a key moderator of psychosocial impact. Implications for future research and practical applications of the findings are offered.
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