Health behaviors among American Indians with spinal cord injury: comparison with data from the 1996 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1999 Nov;80(11):1435-40. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(99)90255-1.


Objective: To identify patterns of health behaviors and health outcomes among a sample of American Indian men with spinal cord injury.

Design: Telephone interviews with all participants, except those who did not have telephones (they returned materials by mail).

Setting: Large rehabilitation hospital in the Western mountain region of the United States.

Participants: Seventy-six American Indian men with traumatic SCI of at least 1 year in duration.

Main outcome measure: Selected health-related behaviors from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) were used to assess health behaviors and general health outcomes among the American Indian SCI sample and to compare findings with those from American Indian men without SCI based on nationwide BRFSS data.

Results: The study participants reported lower overall health and satisfaction with health care than the non-SCI BRFSS group. They also reported a different pattern of health behaviors, including a greater frequency of inoculations for flu and pneumonia but a lower rate of HIV testing and cholesterol screening. A smaller percentage of American Indians used alcohol, but those who did reported more heavy drinking.

Conclusions: American Indians with SCI are more likely to receive health care consistent with the prevention of secondary conditions of SCI (eg, pneumonia), but less likely to receive basic health screens intended to prevent chronic health diseases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Data Collection
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept
  • Smoking
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / ethnology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / psychology*
  • United States
  • Vaccination