Predicting quality of life 5 years after medical discharge for traumatic spinal cord injury
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OBJECTIVES: This study tested an a priori contextual model of the mediating effects of participation on the predictive relationships of functional impairment, family satisfaction, and pain to quality of life (QoL) following traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). DESIGN: A longitudinal design was used to study 144 persons following discharge for traumatic SCI. Predictor variables included functional impairment and family satisfaction (at 12 months post-discharge) and the presence of pain (at 24 months), and mediating variables were two indicators of participation (assessed 48 months post-discharge). Life satisfaction and self-rated health status at 60 months post-discharge were the outcome variables. METHODS: A path model tested hypothesized prospective effects of functional impairment, family satisfaction and pain on participation and the subsequent effects of participation on the QoL variables. RESULTS: Greater functional impairment and pain were predictive of less participation, and participation significantly predicted both indicators of QoL. The two participation variables mediated the relationship of functional impairment and pain to life satisfaction over time. Family satisfaction had an indirect effect on QoL through its association with social integration. CONCLUSIONS: Participation appears to mediate the prospective influence of functional impairment, family satisfaction, and pain on QoL in the years following SCI. These findings provide insight into factors that can predict QoL post-SCI and support the use of contextual models to understand the temporal influence of disability and psychological variables on participation and subsequent QoL. STATEMENT OF CONTRIBUTION: What is already known on this subject? Life satisfaction and self-rated health status are important aspects of quality of life following traumatic spinal cord injury. Functional impairment has been inconsistently predictive of these variables over time. Prospective research to date has not examined the mediating effects of participation in predicting quality of life. What does this study add? The results indicate that greater functional impairment and pain are prospectively predictive of lower participation. Greater participation, in turn, is prospectively predictive of greater quality of life. Participation appears to mediate the prospective influence of functional impairment, family satisfaction, and pain to quality of life.
author list (cited authors)
Erosa, N. A., Berry, J. W., Elliott, T. R., Underhill, A. T., & Fine, P. R.