Objective To understand the role of cultural and psychosocial factors in the outcomes of veteran wheelchair users with spinal cord injury (SCI) to help clinicians identify unique factors faced by their patients and help researchers identify target variables for interventions to reduce disparities in outcomes. Design Cross-sectional cohort study. Setting Three urban Veterans Affairs medical centers affiliated with academic medical centers. Participants Of the patients (N=516) who were eligible to participate, 482 completed the interview and 439 had SCI. Because of small numbers in other race groups, analyses were restricted to white and African American participants, resulting in a final sample of 422. Intervention Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures Quality of life (QOL, Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey); satisfaction (Client Satisfaction Questionnaire); and participation (Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique Short Form). Results African American Veterans reported poorer physical QOL but better mental QOL than did white Veterans. No other significant race differences were found in unadjusted analyses. Multivariable analyses showed that psychosocial factors were predominantly associated with patients’ QOL outcomes and satisfaction with service, but demographic and medical factors were predominantly associated with participation outcomes. Interaction analyses showed that there was a stronger negative association between anxiety and mental QOL for African Americans than for whites, and a positive association between higher self-esteem and social integration for whites but not African Americans. Conclusions Findings suggest that attempts to improve the outcomes of Veterans with SCI should focus on a tailored approach that emphasizes patients’ demographic, medical, and psychosocial assets (eg, building their sense of self-esteem or increasing their feelings of mastery), while providing services targeted to their specific limitations (eg, reducing depression and anxiety).
- Healthcare disparities
- Quality of life
- Spinal cord injuries
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation