Survival Following Spinal Cord Injury: A Fifteen-Year Prospective Study


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Abstract

Using a prospective design, Krause and Crewe (1987) found that lower levels of social and vocational activities after spinal cord injury (SCI) were related to survival 11 years later. The purpose of the present study was to replicate that study using a prospective design, the same participants and database, with added statistical controls to determine the generality of these findings over a 15-year period. Responses to the Life Situation Questionnaire (LSQ) were obtained from a sample of 256 participants with SCI in 1974. Survival status was ascertained in 1989. Sixty-three percent of the participants were known alive (N=162), 23% were deceased (N=60), and 13% could not be located (N=34). The multivariate analysis of variance was used to compare the survivor and deceased participant groups on 1974 adjustment variables. Results suggested that survivors had superior adjustment on most 1974 variables. In particular, the survivors were more active, rated their adjustment to be better, were more satisfied with many life areas, and were more likely to be working. Recent medical history was also related to survival. The results were generally consistent with the original Krause and Crewe study (1987), but extended the findings to many areas of psychological adjustment that were not significantly related to survival in the first study. The results reaffirm the need for a team approach that addresses all aspects of an individual's life in order to facilitate long-term rehabilitation outcomes.

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