Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Rehabilitation Counseling


Nichols, Jane L.


For individuals who sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the disabling effects can greatly impact their life. The effects of a TBI can include physical, emotional, and cognitive impairments that can impact their ability to function in their everyday lives. The recovery process following a TBI can be extensive and costly. Many times the burden of the care and cost falls on the family of the individual with a TBI. Caring for the family member with a TBI can cause a disruption in the function of the family. This disruption can cause stress, anxiety, and burden within the family caregivers.

This paper reviews literature related to TBI, the impact TBI has on family caregivers, and a theoretical family system model that addresses family and marital systems. Three areas will be addressed. Chapter one discusses TBI focusing on incidence, financial assistance, access to services, and the impact on families. Chapter two presents a literature review of current research regarding the effects of TBI on the family system, a review of the Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems and how it pertains to families with TBI, and how rehabilitation counselors can use this theoretical framework to work with families with TBI. Chapter three provides a discussion and recommendations for future research.