Ambiguous Loss and Emotional Recovery After Traumatic Brain Injury

Academic Article


  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is highly prevalent, with many survivors experiencing long-term disability as a consequence of cognitive impairments, adverse personality changes, and emotional and communication difficulties. Because family members most often assume the long-term role of caregiver, their feelings, relationships, and life plans are often negatively affected. Boss has defined a type of ambiguous loss in which the person is physically present but psychologically absent, which is the case for many families after brain injury. Over the past 2 decades we have developed interventions incorporating ambiguous loss theory to enhance resilience and improve psychological outcomes in families after TBI. This article provides a brief overview of TBI, discusses ambiguous loss in families after TBI, and describes the therapeutic goals and framework of empirically supported family interventions using the lens of ambiguous loss theory.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kreutzer JS; Mills A; Marwitz JH
  • Start Page

  • 386
  • End Page

  • 397
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 3