The Relationship Between the Extent of Reciprocity with Social Supporters and Measures of Depressive Symptomatology, Impairment, Disability, and Handicap in Persons with Spinal Cord Injury

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One hundred men and 40 women were randomly selected from a sampling frame of 661 persons with spinal cord injury. They completed a questionnaire assessing amount of social support, degree of reciprocity with supporters, and satisfaction with relationships with supporters; the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; a self-report version of the Functional Independence Measure; and the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique. A physician assessed the degree of paralytic impairment by means of the ASIA Total Motor Index Score. Relationships in which the supporter gave more than the participant were associated with (a) more satisfaction with the relationship and (b) more social support. The number of reciprocal relationships was positively associated with more desirable outcomes in the handicap dimensions of mobility, occupation, social integration and economic self-sufficiency. Possible theoretic models and implications for rehabilitation interventions are discussed.

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