The health and life priorities of individuals with spinal cord injury: a systematic review

J Neurotrauma. 2012 May 20;29(8):1548-55. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.2226. Epub 2012 Apr 18.


Determining the priorities of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) can assist in choosing research priorities that will ultimately improve their quality of life. This systematic review examined studies that directly surveyed people with SCI to ascertain their health priorities and life domains of importance. Twenty-four studies (a combined sample of 5262 subjects) that met the inclusion criteria were identified using electronic databases (Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO). The questionnaire methods and domains of importance were reviewed and described. While the questionnaires varied across studies, a consistent set of priorities emerged. Functional recovery priorities were identified for the following areas: motor function (including arm/hand function for individuals with tetraplegia, and mobility for individuals with paraplegia), bowel, bladder, and sexual function. In addition, health, as well as relationships, emerged as important life domains. The information from this study, which identified the priorities and domains of importance for individuals with SCI, may be useful for informing health care and research agenda-setting activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires