Depression following traumatic spinal cord injury

Neuroepidemiology. 2005;25(2):55-61. doi: 10.1159/000086284. Epub 2005 Jun 8.


Objectives: To describe the epidemiology of depression following traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) and identify risk factors associated with depression.

Methods: This population-based cohort study followed individuals from date of SCI to 6 years after injury. Administrative data from a Canadian province with a universal publicly funded health care system and centralized databases were used. A Cox proportional hazards model was developed to identify risk factors.

Results: Of 201 patients with SCI, 58 (28.9%) were treated for depression. Individuals at highest risk were those with a pre-injury history of depression [hazard rate ratio (HRR) 1.6; 95% CI: 1.1-2.3], a history of substance abuse (HRR 1.6; 95% CI: 1.2-2.3) or permanent neurological deficit (HRR 1.6; 95% CI: 1.2-2.1).

Conclusion: Depression occurs commonly and early in persons who sustain an SCI. Both patient and injury factors are associated with the development of depression. These should be used to target patients for mental health assessment and services during initial hospitalization and following discharge into the community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / psychology*
  • Wounds and Injuries