Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MS Experimental Psychology

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Susan A. Nolan, PhD

Committee Member

Kelly M. Goedert, PhD

Committee Member

Susan M. Teague, PhD

Keywords

traumatic brain injury, education, misconception, attribution, factsheet, personal stories

Abstract

It has been widely shown that misconceptions related to traumatic brain injury (TBI) are held among both family members of people with TBI and the general public. These misconceptions have the potential to increase the distress of people with TBI and negatively impact rehabilitation processes. Although increased education has often been suggested to reduce misconceptions, few studies have examined which methods are most effective in providing information to the public. In the current study, I investigated the effects of existing education materials – either a TBI factsheet or personal stories of people with TBI. These materials are currently easily accessible online, but the effect they have on those who read them has not been studied. I explored the influence of these tools on both misconceptions of TBI and misattributions of behavior resulting from injury to life stage (i.e., adolescence). Results suggest that, on average, factsheets may be more effective for increasing knowledge about TBI than personal stories or a control group. Personal stories may be more useful, on average, for decreasing misattributions, as compared to a control group.

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