1/ What are the main characteristics of the respondents to the survey? What are the particularities of the Tétrafigap surveys?

Accidents that cause tetraplegia have specific origins. They most often are road traffic or sports accidents. Therefore, people involved in these accidents have a specific profile: they are usually young and single men. In principle, but for that accident, these people had no reason to be single all their lives. The specificity of this injury helps to understand the limitations faced by tetraplegics in terms of social and emotional integration. Indeed, the Tétrafigap survey questioned a decade apart people who have had this type of trauma in order to identify their pathway, both personal and medical, and especially how their situation has changed over time.

2/ Have their marital status changed between their accident and 2006?

As victims of these accidents are often young, the majority of respondents was single at the time of the accident. Then, depending on what we choose to see, the glass is half full or empty, since half of single people at the time of the accident does form a union later. Compared to people who are not suffering from tetraplegia, it takes on average nearly ten years for persons with tetraplegia to meet someone. However, their union seems more stable. But the other half of them remains alone, a proportion seven times higher than in the general population.

3/ Which factors most influence the possibility of a union of people with traumatic tetraplegia?

Disability and health problems resulting from this type of injury have of course an influence on the possibilities of union as half of tetraplegics remains single after the accident. But if considering why some are in a relationship and not the others, we realize that elements external to the injury mostly explain couple formation. The significant presence of the family does not help to find a partner, while the social network does. This has led to deepen this aspect and to pay attention to those who live with their parents. For them, it seems that the injury hampers the process of empowerment of the young adult. Thus, they would have a weaker social integration, both professional and affective.

Interview by Anne Evans

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