Navigating the impact of workplace distractions for persons with TBI: a qualitative descriptive study

De Anna Pinnow, Renee Causey-Upton, Peter Meulenbroek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Persons with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) who return to work often struggle with managing environmental distractions due to residual cognitive impairments. Previous literature has established that environmental distractions impact persons with TBI, yet, the extent to which distractions impact workplace performance is unknown. This qualitative descriptive study using phenomenology methods, explored the experiences of seven individuals with TBIs and how they perceived workplace distractions to impact their productivity. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews with seven participants who were diagnosed with mild, moderate, and severe TBIs. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis. Main findings centered around what environmental distractions impacted work performance, the farther-reaching consequences of distractibility, strong emotional feelings and worry about perceived work performance associated with distractibility, mitigating distractibility through “gaming the attentional system”, and utilizing music as a distraction masker to enhance task performance. In light of this study’s findings, researchers, and clinicians are encouraged to consider the wider impact of distractions on persons with TBI. The real-life accounts documented in this study will assist researchers and clinicians to account for the impact of environmental distractions in rehabilitation and support employment for persons with TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15881
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

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© 2022, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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