Adjustment After Spinal Cord Injury: Relationship to Gender and Race


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Abstract

The study of psychological adjustment after spinal cord injury (SCI) has been limited by the use of easy-to-obtain participant samples that have included mostly young Caucasian males and by the lack of refined measures of adjustment. The two primary goals of the current study were: (1) to generate data on gender and race differences on subjective well-being (life satisfaction, adjustment, and problems) and (2) to develop an improved measure of subjective outcomes after SCI. A total of 362 participants from a southeastern rehabilitation center who were stratified according to gender, race, and age at injury onset completed the Multidimensional Adjustment Profile (MAP). Ten subjective adjustment scales were developed from the MAP, nine of which were based on factor analysis of sets of 20 life satisfaction items and 31 problem items. Compared with minority participants, Caucasian participants reported significantly higher levels of Career Satisfaction and fewer problems with Skills Deficit and Financial Limitations. Interactions between gender and race were observed for three scales (Emotional Distress, Physical Discomfort, and Adjustment), with more positive scores reported by minority males and Caucasian females. Results pointed to the importance of race differences in adaptation after SCI.

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