Access limitations and level of psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic in a geographically-limited sample of individuals with spinal cord injury

Jose R. Vives Alvarado, Natalia Miranda-Cantellops, Sequoia N. Jackson, Elizabeth R. Felix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Assess changes in access and psychological status during the COVID-19 pandemic in people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Study Design: Cohort telephone survey study. Setting: South Florida SCI Model System (SF-SCIMS) Participants: A convenience sample of 51 individuals with traumatic SCI who had previously completed SCIMS Form II follow-up interviews. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measure(s): Questionnaire administration included assessments of resilience, depressive symptoms, satisfaction with life, anxiety, pain, alcohol and substance use, COVID-19 diagnoses and symptoms, and impact of early COVID-19 community restrictions on various aspects of life. Results: Of the individuals interviewed, 78% reported limited access to their regular activities, 40% to healthcare information and services, 38% to personal protective equipment (PPE), 37% to food/groceries, and 34% to medication refills. Sixteen percent of the participants had at least moderate levels of depression, and 10% had at least moderate levels of anxiety. Statistically significant increases in depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire 9; P = 0.004) and significant decreases in resilience (SCI-Quality of Life Resilience subscore; P = 0.010) were found when comparing scores on measures of psychological function at the time of the study to scores collected during the previous SCIMS Form II interview (within 2 years pre-COVID-19). Conclusion(s): Limitations to basic needs and face-to-face communication can exacerbate challenges in access for persons with disabilities. Our results show increased levels of psychological distress related to decreased access to goods and services in individuals with SCI due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of this study can help the SCI community to target strategies for enhanced access, outreach, shared information, and social support in preparation for future community health or weather emergencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Spinal Cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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