Objectives: To explore the experiences of women with non-stroke related ABI to gain greater insight into their general and sex- and gender-specific health and well-being concerns, and to identify areas for future research.
Design: A qualitative pilot study using interpretive description methodology and a sex-and gender-based analysis of data collected through focus groups.
Participants: A sample of survivors, and formal and informal caregivers of women with ABI (n=16) living in Canada.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main Outcome Measures: Not applicable.
Results: Participants identified significant barriers to achieving optimal health and well-being for women survivors of ABI, including a lack of knowledgeable professionals. We identify three interrelated themes: (1) experiences shaped by gender norms and roles; (2) experiences influenced by physiological phenomena, including perceived hormone imbalances; and (3) experiences surrounding interpersonal relationships and sexuality.
Conclusion: Post-ABI care should include education about the influences of sex and gender on health and well-being. Acknowledging the impact of gendered roles, and the broader socio-political context of gender and disability, is important to develop appropriate services and supports following ABI. Incorporating effective communication strategies between client and health care professional can also be a potent rehabilitation strategy.