Resilience and Function in Adults With Chronic Physical Disabilities: A Cross-Lagged Panel Design

Ann Behav Med. 2020 Apr 20;54(5):297-307. doi: 10.1093/abm/kaz048.


Background: Resilience is a psychological construct referring to one's positive adaptation in response to adversity. Evidence suggests that resilience may contribute to various function domains in adults with chronic physical disabilities.

Purpose: To test hypothesized temporal associations between resilience and four function domains (anxiety, depression, social role satisfaction, and physical function) in individuals with chronic physical disabilities.

Methods: Participants were 1,574 adults with one of four chronic physical disabilities (spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, or postpolio myelitis syndrome) who were participating in a large, ongoing USA-based longitudinal survey study. Three surveys were mailed on an approximately yearly basis. Resilience was assessed using the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale 10-item (CDRSC-10) and each function domain was assessed using the respective Patient Reported Outcome Measurement System (PROMIS) short-form.

Results: Cross-lagged path models evidenced statistically significant reciprocal relationships between resilience and each function domain except physical function. The standardized lagged coefficients corresponding to resilience predicting social role satisfaction (T1-T2 = 0.09, T2-T3 = 0.09) had similar effect sizes as those corresponding to social role satisfaction predicting resilience (T1-T2 = 0.11, T2-T3 = 0.04), although resilience was a slightly stronger predictor in the second lag. In models assessing psychological function, resilience was a stronger predictor of later psychological function (resilience-to-anxiety, T1-T2 = -0.15, T2-T3 = -0.11; resilience-to-depression, T1-T2 = -0.21, T2-T3 = -0.13) than the inverse (anxiety-to-resilience, T1-T2 = -0.11, T2-T3 = -0.06; depression-to-resilience, T1-T2 = -0.12, T2-T3 = -0.05).

Conclusions: The study findings suggest that resilience is a significant prospective predictor of psychological and social function over time in individuals with chronic physical disabilities.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Disabled persons; Longitudinal studies; Psychological; Resilience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural