Changes in Adjustment After Spinal Cord Injury: A 20-Year Longitudinal Study

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This study assessed the stability of multiple aspects of adaptation after spinal cord injury (SCI). One hundred fourteen participants with SCI completed the Life Situation Questionnaire on 4 separate occasions over a 20-year interval. Changes in the outcomes over time were measured. Time engaged in employment activities, sitting tolerance, and number of years of education increased, and the number of hospitalizations and total days hospitalized decreased. However, self-rated adjustment decreased over the same time period. The results indicate a divergence between changes in objective and subjective aspects of life over the 20-year period. These findings suggest that people with SCI generally do not feel more positive about their lives than they did 20 years prior, despite an increase in employment opportunities and a decrease in hospitalizations.

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