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'Trying to bring attention to your body when you're not sure where it is': An interpretative phenomenological analysis of drivers and barriers to mindfulness for people with spinal cord injury.

Hearn, Jasmine Heath and Finlay, Katherine Anne and Sheffield, David (2020) 'Trying to bring attention to your body when you're not sure where it is': An interpretative phenomenological analysis of drivers and barriers to mindfulness for people with spinal cord injury. British Journal of Health Psychology. ISSN 1359-107X

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES:Work is beginning to explore the impact of mindfulness in managing the physical and psychological health of people with spinal cord injury (SCI). However, no previous work has sought to understand what drives people with such conditions to try mindfulness, and what barriers are experienced in accessing mindfulness. DESIGN:An exploratory, qualitative, interview design, utilizing interpretative phenomenological analysis. METHODS:Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 people with SCI who had experience of mindfulness since sustaining their injury. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using IPA to understand the lived experience of mindfulness post-SCI. RESULTS:Analysis suggested that managing physical and mental health, and viewing mindfulness as proactive and protective were key drivers for exploring mindfulness. However, multiple barriers to accessing opportunities and developing capability impeded engagement. These included the focus on areas of the body that participants had reduced sensation in, physical environments that could not be navigated in a wheelchair, social stigma surrounding the use of mindfulness, and a sense of obligation and risk of failure implied by perceived requirements for engagement. CONCLUSIONS:The results demonstrate the need for specific interventions to accommodate the reduced sensory and physical function experienced by people with neurological conditions and to enhance sense of control and autonomy. In addition, recommendations include minimizing the stigma surrounding mindfulness, and the potentially demotivating impact of the perception of 'failing' to engage.

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