Spirituality, Quality of Life, and Functional Recovery After Medical Rehabilitation

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ABSTRACT.Objectives:To explore (a) how spiritual well-being, emotional well-being, life satisfaction, and functional status change during and after rehabilitation; (b) the relationships among these variables over time; and (c) associations with demographic and clinical characteristics.Study Design:Longitudinal assessment across 3 time points.Participants and Setting:155 adults admitted to a free-standing rehabilitation hospital.Main Outcome Measures:Spiritual Well-Being Scale, Life Satisfaction Questionnaire, Short-Form Health Survey, and the Functional Independence Measure™.Results:Emotional well-being increased during rehabilitation, whereas life satisfaction and spiritual well-being did not change; however, substantial subgroups of individuals experienced changes in life satisfaction and spiritual well-being over time. Measures of spiritual well-being, emotional well-being, and life satisfaction were moderately correlated within and across time points. Persons making smaller functional gains during inpatient rehabilitation were least likely to experience increased emotional well-being. Although African Americans as a group reported greater spiritual well-being than other racial–ethnic groups on admission, they were least likely to increase in emotional well-being over time. Persons with less than a high school education were more likely to experience significant declines in life satisfaction, whereas persons with more than a high school education were least likely to experience significant gains in spiritual well-being over time.Conclusions:Interventions designed to target spiritual well-being, emotional well-being, or life satisfaction are likely to have salutary effects for each of these aspects of well-being. Race and education are potentially important predictors of spiritual and emotional distress among rehabilitation inpatients. Examining individual patterns of change over time may help in further clarifying these relationships and developing appropriate clinical interventions.

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