Predicting Psychosocial Outcomes Using a Brief Measure of Quality of Life in a Sample of People with Spinal Cord Injury

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Abstract

Background:

Spinal cord injury (SCI) significantly impacts an individual's quality of life (QOL). A brief and subjective measure of QOL is necessary to monitor the progress and outcomes of SCI rehabilitation.

Objective:

To determine whether this measure of QOL was associated with clinically important physical and psychosocial outcomes in a sample of people with SCI, to determine how people with SCI scored on this measure of QOL, and to determine whether people with SCI scored differently than nondisabled individuals on the QOL scale.

Methods:

Participants were 134 people with SCI (65% male; 35% female) and 227 nondisabled people (35% male; 65% female). Participants were assessed on a number of psychosocial and physiological variables at a large urban university and rehabilitation center. Variables examined were QOL, life satisfaction, depression, social interaction, pain, fatigue, and level of functioning.

Results:

Participants with SCI reported more low QOL scores and fewer high QOL scores than the nondisabled group. For participants with SCI, QOL was positively related to life satisfaction and social interaction and negatively related to pain, fatigue, and depression.

Conclusions:

Participants with SCI scored lower on the QOL measure than those without a disability, although the difference was not clinically significant. QOL was unrelated to level of functioning; people may still experience a high QOL despite their physical limitations. Depression and social interaction were significantly related to QOL and should be secondary targets for intervention following SCI rehabilitation.

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