Coping Resources for Persons With Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury in A Tanzania Rural Area

  •  Haleluya Moshi    
  •  Gunnevi Sundelin    
  •  Klas-Göran Sahlen    
  •  Rhoda Anthea    
  •  Ann Sörlin    


BACKGROUND: Persons with traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) in Tanzanian rural settings face a variety of geographical and socioeconomic challenges that make life almost impossible for them. However, some have managed to live relatively long lives despite these difficult conditions. This study aimed at exploring secrets behind successful lives of persons with TSCI in typical resource-constrained rural Tanzanian settings.

METHODS: A modified constructivist grounded theory was employed for the analysis of data from 10 individuals who have lived between 7 and 28 years with TSCI in typical Tanzanian rural area. The 10 were purposively selected from 15 interviews that were conducted in 2011. The analysis followed the constructivist approach in which data was first open and axial coded, prior to categories being constructed. The categories were frequently reviewed in light of the available literature to determine the over-arching core category that described or connected the rest.

RESULTS: Nine categories (identified as internal and external coping resources) were constructed. The internal coping resources were: secured in God, increase in awareness on health risk, problem-solving skills and social skills. External coping resources were: having a reliable family, varying support from the community, a matter of possession and left without means for mobility. Acceptance was later identified as a core category that determines identification and utilization of the rest of the coping resources.

CONCLUSION: Persons with traumatic spinal cord injury can survive for a relatively long time despite the hostile environment. Coping with these environments requires the employment of various coping resources, acceptance being the most important.

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