Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Adult Health Nursing

First Advisor

Dr. Judith A. Lewis


This aim of this study was to answer the research question: "What is the Life Pattern of the Person with Spinal Cord Injury?" The unitary appreciative inquiry design, which has conceptualized through Rogers' (1986) science of unitary human beings, provided an approach for understanding the phenomenon in the context of human wholeness. The data, obtained through the methodology of unitary appreciative inquiry, led to the development of individual synopses for each of the participants. Once the synopses were completed, a composite pattern profile was constructed by the researcher that was indicative of the life pattern of people with spinal cord injury. The participants in the study validated the synopsis and pattern profile as accurate representations of their experience with spinal cord injury. This qualitative study, which was comprised of eight people who had undergone a spinal cord injury more than two years prior to the study, discovered three shared pattern manifestations: depersonalization; loss; and hopelessness. Although each person within this inquiry had a very good physical outcome concerning their spinal cord injury, the participants were not pleased with their current state of being. The pattern of despair, which was validated by the participants, was manifested through the profound sense of depersonalization, loss, and hopelessness.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Included in

Nursing Commons