COPING WITH THE LATE EFFECTS: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DEPRESSED AND NONDEPRESSED POLIO SURVIVORS1

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Abstract

Tate D, Kirsch N, Maynard F, Peterson C, Forchheimer M, Roller A, Hansen N: Coping with the late effects: differences between depressed and nondepressed polio survivors.Am J Phys Med Rehabil1994;73:27-35

This study examined differences between depressed and nondepressed individuals with a history of paralytic poliomyelitis in terms of demographics, health status and coping strategies. The prevalence of distress and depression in this group of 116 polio survivors was determined. Subjects completed the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Coping with Disability Inventory and a questionnaire concerning their polio histories and self-perceptions of health. Medical assessments were performed by physicians. Only 15.8% of the sample had scores indicating depression and elevated distress. Depressed/distressed polio survivors were more likely to: be living alone, be experiencing further health status deterioration, seek professional help, view their health as poor, report greater pain, be less satisfied with their occupational status and their lives in general and exhibit poorer coping outcome behaviors in relation to their disability. Three factors in coping with the late effects of polio were identified through a factor analysis of the Coping with Disability Inventory: positive self-acceptance, information seeking/sharing about the disability and social activism. Differences between depressed/distressed and other polio survivors were found across these three factors, with depressed/distressed subjects having significantly lower coping scores. These and other results are discussed.

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