Perceived difficulty in dealing with consequences of spinal cord injury

Eva G. Widerström-Noga, Ernesto Felipe-Cuervo, James G. Broton, Robert C. Duncan, Robert P. Yezierski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine the perceived difficulty in dealing with consequences of spinal cord injury (SCI) and to explore patterns of how these complications are perceived. Design: Postal survey. Setting: General community. Participants: Individuals with traumatic SCI (n = 430). Methods: Subjects (n = 877) were selected from The Miami Project database and were sent a questionnaire in which they were asked to rate their difficulty in dealing with 10 consequences of SCI, on a scale ranging from 0 (not hard at all) to 10 (extremely hard). Results: The questionnaire was returned by 430 individuals (49%). Five consequences (decreased ability to walk or move, decreased control of bowel, decreased control of bladder, decreased sexual function, and pain) were rated highest (means, 8.2 to 6.2). High ratings of feeling sad were associated with high ratings of most other consequences, and a cluster analysis revealed interrelationships between the ways the various consequences were perceived. Conclusions: Several consequences of SCI are frequently perceived as being very difficult to deal with. Sadness may influence how well a person deals with other consequences of SCI. The observed patterns in perceived difficulty dealing with complications of SCI need to be explored further because they are important in our understanding and treatment of the medical conditions that may follow SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-586
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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