Determinants of health knowledge and health perceptions from the perspective of health-related education of patients with spinal cord injury: a systematic review

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Appropriate health knowledge (HK) and health perceptions (HP) of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) are linked to health-related behaviors, compliance, the involvement of caregivers and efficacy of prophylaxis, and management of secondary conditions. The significance of factors determining the efficacy of educational interventions in patients with SCI is underestimated. This systematic literature review aims at identification of determinants of HK and HP among patients with SCI. We identified 16 papers with quantitative HK and HP measurements conclusive in the identification of HK and HP determinants in individuals with SCI. Better HK and HP correlated with health condition-related variables (traumatic SCI, history of secondary conditions, except depression), body functions and structures (tetraplegia, incomplete deficit), activities (independence in daily living activities, ability of locomotion on a wheelchair, inability to walk), social and vocational participation, environmental factors (access to a computer with Internet connection, living in a big city, being married, healthcare recently received), and personal factors (younger age among adults, living with SCI for a longer time, younger age at SCI onset, higher educational level, internal locus of control). Limitations encountered included high nonresponse rates among the patients enrolled, and use of heterogeneous and nonvalidated tools. The results of these studies do not cover the entire scope of possible interactions and exclusively apply univariate correlations. The paucity and methodological limitations of studies conclusive in the identification of HK and HP determinants in SCI patients and the development of new approaches to information and education warrant more high-quality research on the basis of multivariate analyses.

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