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Understanding and Supporting Peer Relationships in Adolescents with Acquired Brain Injury: A Stakeholder Engagement Study

Ankrett, S., Smithson, J., Limond, J. , Behn, N. ORCID: 0000-0001-9356-9957, Wade, S., Wilkinson, L. & Adlam, A-L. R. (2022). Understanding and Supporting Peer Relationships in Adolescents with Acquired Brain Injury: A Stakeholder Engagement Study. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 33(6), pp. 1090-1119. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2022.2062006


Peer relationship difficulties in adolescents with acquired brain injury (ABI) are under-recognised and targets for intervention are unclear. From a social constructionist position, this study aimed to engage with stakeholders to develop a collaborative understanding of peer relationship difficulties in adolescents with ABI and seek consultation on what might be required to improve them.

Focus groups and semi-structured interviews were conducted with four stakeholder groups: adolescents with ABI (n=4); parents of adolescents with ABI (n=7); adults who sustained an ABI in adolescence (n=2); and specialist practitioners (n=3). Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis.
The analysis yielded 11 themes, grouped into two domains. The first, understanding peer relationship difficulties, included themes from ‘exclusion and a need to belong’, to ‘loss of past self’. The second, supporting peer relationships, comprised themes of ‘building understanding’ and ‘meaningful social connection’, amongst others. A logic model of stakeholder experiences of peer relationship difficulties was constructed.

Difficulties with peers can increase vulnerability to feelings of loneliness, shame, and hopelessness for adolescents post-ABI. Stakeholders described that a meaningful intervention would be multi-layered, targeting change within the adolescent’s environment and within the adolescent themselves. The presented logic model provides a framework for future intervention development.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Publisher Keywords: brain injury; adolescence; peer relationships; intervention; quality of life
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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