Trajectories of Life Satisfaction Five Years After Medical Discharge for Traumatically Acquired Disability
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OBJECTIVES: We studied the predictive impact of family satisfaction, marital status, and functional impairment on the trajectories of life satisfaction over the first 5 years following medical treatment for traumatic spinal cord injury, burns, or interarticular fractures (total N = 662). It was anticipated that fewer functional impairments, being married, and greater family satisfaction would predict higher life satisfaction trajectories. METHOD: The Functional Independence Measure, the Family Satisfaction Scale, and the Life Satisfaction Index were administered 12, 24, 48, and 60 months postdischarge. RESULTS: Trajectory modeling revealed that greater functional impairment significantly predicted lower life satisfaction, regardless of injury type. However, this association diminished when marital status and family satisfaction were entered into the models. Greater family satisfaction and being married predicted greater life satisfaction across time. Moreover, there was no evidence for increases in life satisfaction trajectories over time: Trajectories were stable across time for all injury groups. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that being married and greater family satisfaction promote life satisfaction among those who traumatically acquire disability, and these beneficial effects may be more salient than the degree of functional impairment imposed by the condition.
author list (cited authors)
Hernandez, C. L., Elliott, T. R., Berry, J. W., Underhill, A. T., Fine, P. R., & Lai, M.