Abstract

Objective. A set of guidelines to assist men with traumatic brain injury (TBI) to alleviate gender role strain was assessed to determine its effectiveness and acceptability to participants.

Method. Four adult male participants with TBI received the intervention (the set of guidelines) for 4 months. The intervention consisted of rebuilding self-identified gendered social roles and activities. Focused interviews and participant observation were used to determine whether gender role strain changed after intervention.

Results. The participants reported that the intervention enabled them to (a) enhance their gender role satisfaction through newly rebuilt roles and activities, (b) attain certain long-held personal goals, (c) feel more like members of society, (d) perceive a greater congruency between their internal self-images and external postinjury roles, (e) learn more about personal skills and values as men, (f) feel more comfortable using help-seeking behaviors, (g) feel a sense of shared experience and affinity, (h) feel more understood and accepted, and (i) contribute to others through community member roles.

Discussion. The set of guidelines for alleviating gender role strain was effective in assisting these participants to enhance their gender role satisfaction through rebuilding desired male-gendered social roles and activities. Dating, courtship, extended family member, community member, friend, and mentor–protege roles, lost as a result of TBI, were rebuilt through gender-neutral activities that facilitated a sense of volitional control, competency, and normalcy. Nonetheless, the men continued to lack desired rites of passage leading from male adolescence to adulthood.

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