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. 2015 Sep;38(5):571-83.
doi: 10.1179/2045772314Y.0000000295. Epub 2015 Feb 18.

Psychosocial Correlates of Depression Following Spinal Injury: A Systematic Review

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Psychosocial Correlates of Depression Following Spinal Injury: A Systematic Review

Rebekah Kraft et al. J Spinal Cord Med. .
Free PMC article


Objectives: Spinal cord injury (SCI) studies have identified a range of psychosocial risk and protective factors for depression post-injury. This study presents the first systematic and quantitative review of this body of research.

Methods: Twenty-four studies (N=3172 participants) were identified through electronic database searches. Studies were evaluated according to recommended guidelines on Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE). The significance and magnitude of the relationships between standardised measures of depression and psychosocial outcome were examined using Pearson's effect size r, 95% confidence intervals and fail-safe Ns. Effect sizes were categorised according to the ICF psychosocial domains.

Results: STROBE ratings indicated discrepancies in procedural detail and statistical analyses. Individual personal variables including affective feelings, and thoughts and beliefs specific to SCI demonstrated the strongest relationship with depression self-ratings. Life satisfaction, disability acceptance, environmental supports and community participation had a medium to strong association, helping to reduce vulnerability to depression. Longitudinal studies revealed that symptoms of depression continued to impact on psychosocial outcome up to 10 years post-injury, although this was based on limited data.

Conclusions: Assessment of psychosocial factors in the acute stages of SCI rehabilitation can inform evidence-based interventions to treat and manage depressive symptomatology in the short to longer-term. Future studies would benefit from adopting a unified approach to the measurement of depression post-SCI to help inform targeted treatment.

Keywords: Spinal cord injury; depression; psychological adaptation; rehabilitation.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow chart of study selection.

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