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Men with Adult Onset Epileptic Seizures: Their Coping Strategies and Sense of Subjective Wellbeing following Elective Neurosurgery

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2017

Martin Raffaele
Discipline of Rehabilitation Counselling, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Room T-428, Cumberland Campus, 75 East Street Lidcombe, NSW, 2141, Australia Health and Global Populations, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Room T-428, Cumberland Campus, 75 East Street Lidcombe, NSW, 2141, Australia
Elias Mpofu*
Discipline of Rehabilitation Counselling, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Room T-428, Cumberland Campus, 75 East Street Lidcombe, NSW, 2141, Australia Educational Psychology and Inclusive Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Auckland Park, South Africa
Jennifer Smith-Merry
Discipline of Behaviour and Community Health, University of Sydney, Room T-426, Cumberland Campus, 75 East Street Lidcombe, NSW, 2141, Australia
Martin Mackey
Discipline of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, C43A - Jeffrey Miller Admin Building, Cumberland Campus, 75 East Street Lidcombe, NSW, 2141, Australia
Address for correspondence: Elias Mpofu, Discipline of Rehabilitation Counselling, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Room T-428, Cumberland Campus, 75 East Street Lidcombe, NSW, 2141, Australia. E-mail:
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This study aimed to understand the coping strategies used by men with Adult Onset Epileptic Seizures (AOES) following elective neurosurgery, and in particular, how those adaptive skills relate to their subjective wellbeing (SWB). Open-ended qualitative interviews were conducted with five men with a history of neurosurgery for AOES (aged 34–59). The interview data was thematically analysed utilising interpretive phenomenological analysis. The findings indicated that the men experienced significant role marginalisation by family and co-workers, and also poor communication provided by health care professionals. They reported a higher sense of SWB with the use of ego-buffering strategies, such as positive reframing, threat minimisation, emotional self-acceptance and engaging in wish-fulfilling fantasies. Self-blame led to lower SWB. Findings imply that agentic behaviour is important to successful living with AOES following neurosurgery.

Copyright © The Author(s) 2017 

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Note. The first listed author is an individual living with adult onset epilepsy and completed the study on which this manuscript is based as part of his doctoral degree studies.


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