Positive Psychological Variables in the Prediction of Life Satisfaction After Spinal Cord Injury

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Objective: To examine relationships between select positive psychological variables and life satisfaction in persons with spinal cord injury during acute rehabilitation and 3 months after discharge. Design: Prospective observational design; correlational and regression analyses. Eighty-seven adults who were participating in in-patient, acute rehabilitation for spinal cord injury in two metropolitan hospitals completed the following measures: Benefit finding Scale, Hope Scale, Brief Symptom Inventory, COPE, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, and Satisfaction with Life Scale. Results: Hypothesized relationships of hope and positive affect (facilitator variables) with greater life satisfaction during the initial acute rehabilitation period were supported. Facilitators, as measured at baseline, accounted for a significant amount of variance in life satisfaction above and beyond barrier variables (depression, negative affect, and avoidant coping) both during the acute rehabilitation phase (R2 change = .20, p < .0001) and at 3 months after discharge (R2 change = .09, p < .029). Conclusions: Findings suggest that positive psychological variables play a significant role in postrehabilitation subjective well-being for persons with spinal cord injury and may provide potential avenues for interventions to facilitate positive outcomes.

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