Background/objective: Although the impact of secondary conditions after spinal cord injury (SCI) on health, well being, and financial burden have been studied, there are psychometrically sound scales of secondary conditions in the extant literature. The use of such scales allows for cross-sample comparison of secondary condition prevalence rates and associations with functional, medical, and psychosocial factors. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the preliminary reliability of a SCI secondary conditions scale.
Methods: The Spinal Cord Injury Secondary Conditions Scale (SCI-SCS) is a 16-item scale based on the Seekins Secondary Conditions Scale. Sixty-five individuals with SCI completed written surveys at 5 time-points over 2 years.
Results: Internal consistency across each of the time-points exceeded 0.76; test-retest reliability ranged from 0.569 to 0.805. Convergent validity was assessed with 6 physical functioning items from the SF-12. Spearman (coefficients were all statistically significant and ranged from 0.317 (accomplished less because of health problems) to 0.644 (pain). The most prevalent secondary conditions were chronic pain, joint and muscle pain, and sexual dysfunction.
Conclusions: Preliminary testing of the SCI-SCS suggests that it is a reliable and valid scale, and further development (ie, factor analysis, item revision) and examination of validity are recommended with larger and more diverse SCI samples.