Spinal cord injury and psychological response

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1998 Nov;20(6):353-9. doi: 10.1016/s0163-8343(98)00047-4.


Psychological adjustment and psychopathological morbidity issues during rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injury, have been documented in international literature. However, most authors are faced with methodological difficulties, and results are contradictory. In this prospective study, the first to be made in the Portuguese population, a sample of 65 patients being treated in a rehabilitation unit during the years of 1993, 1994 and 1995, was obtained. The authors study the type of psychological response, when it does occur, which personality traits point to less suffering, which coping mechanisms are used by the better adjusted patients and the differences between the scores of paraplegic and quadriplegic patients. Two assessments were made. The following assessment instruments were used: an anamnestic data questionnaire, the SCL-90-R (Derogatis, 1983), the EPI (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1984), the Coping Styles Evaluation Scale (Figueira, 1990). The second assessments were carried out with the SCL-90-R only. The findings indicate that psychopathological scores consistent with depression occurred in 60% of patients if we consider any evaluation. Sleep disturbances, suicide ideation and guilt occurred in the same proportion. In 33% of them, we found persistent depressive scores in the two assessments. The authors find a highly significant positive correlation between psychopathology and neuroticism. On the contrary, the extroversion dimensions of EPI seem to be a good prognosis predictive factor as far as the occurrence of psychopathology is concerned. No differences in the psychopathological response were found concerning the paraplegic-quadriplegic situation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Extraversion, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia / complications*
  • Paraplegia / psychology*
  • Paraplegia / rehabilitation
  • Personality Inventory
  • Personality*
  • Portugal
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quadriplegia / complications*
  • Quadriplegia / psychology*
  • Quadriplegia / rehabilitation
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires