Quality of life in spinal cord injured individuals and their caregivers during the initial 6 months following rehabilitation

Qual Life Res. 2004 Feb;13(1):97-110. doi: 10.1023/B:QURE.0000015284.95515.17.


Addressing quality of life (QOL) issues in the spinal cord injured (SCI) population is imperative as the majority survive their initial injury and longevity now approaches that of the general population. The purpose of this mixed method, descriptive, longitudinal feasibility study was to describe and compare QOL in 10 adult SCI individuals and their family caregivers (FCs) during the initial 6 months following rehabilitation. Instruments used were the SF-36 and two horizontal visual analog scales, one for pain and one for QOL. Participants completed the instruments and a face-to-face in-depth interview at 1-, 3-, and 6-months following inpatient rehabilitation. SCI individuals reported low physical function, role physical (RP), and role emotional (RE) scores on the SF-36, while reporting high general health (GH), mental health and social functioning on the SF-36. FCs reported lower RP, GH and vitality scores, while reporting higher physical functioning and RE scores. On the visual analog scales, persons with SCI reported lower QOL while FCs reported more pain at 3 and 6 months. This study suggests that more work is needed to identify interventions which could enhance QOL during the transition from rehabilitation to home for SCI individuals and their FCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Disabled Persons / psychology*
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pennsylvania
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / psychology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation