Risk of hospitalizations after spinal cord injury: relationship with biographical, injury, educational, and behavioral factors

Spinal Cord. 2009 Sep;47(9):692-7. doi: 10.1038/sc.2009.16. Epub 2009 Mar 3.


Study design: Cross-sectional survey.

Objectives: To assess the risk factors associated with hospitalization and the relationship of individual health behaviors with hospitalizations after spinal cord injury (SCI).

Setting: A large specialty hospital in the southeastern USA.

Methods: Persons with SCI responded (n=1386) to a mail survey assessing various aspects of their health, including health behaviors and number of hospitalizations in the past year. Logistic regression was used to assess the relationships between biographical, injury, educational, and health behavior factors with hospitalization in the past year.

Results: Overall, 36.6% of participants were hospitalized on at least one occasion during the earlier year. Two biographical and injury characteristics were associated with hospitalization: race and SCI severity. Specifically, minorities and persons with non-ambulatory high cervical or non-cervical SCI were more likely to be hospitalized. Three behavioral factors were significantly associated with hospitalization after controlling for biographical and injury characteristics. Persons who used prescription medications, those who engaged more in smoking behaviors, and persons who reported more SCI-specific health behaviors were more likely to be hospitalized.

Conclusion: Specific health behaviors are associated with an increased hospitalization among persons with SCI. Future research is needed to assess the time sequence of these relationships.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology