Attribution of responsibility for onset of spinal cord injury and psychosocial outcomes in the first year post-injury Academic Article uri icon


  • Investigations of attribution for responsibility for onset of spinal cord injury (SCI) have resulted in inconsistent findings when relating such attributions to psychosocial outcomes. Very few studies have investigated this phenomenon in a prospective, longitudinal fashion. We prospectively followed 80 persons with recent onset traumatic SCI and examined patient and staff attributions for responsibility for onset of SCI, the stability of those measures over time, and their relationship to measures of life satisfaction and family adjustment. Twenty-five percent of the sample changed self-attributions of responsibility over time. Self-attribution of responsibility was associated with lower life satisfaction during rehabilitation, but this difference dissipated by one year post injury. Self- attribution of responsibility was not predictive of patient-assessed family adjustment. Staff assessment of patient responsibility for onset of injury was not predictive of outcomes even when congruence/incongruence between patient and staff attributions was examined. Implications for further investigation are discussed.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Richards, J. S., Elliott, T. R., Shewchuk, R. M., & Fine, P. R.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Richards, JS||Elliott, TR||Shewchuk, RM||Fine, PR

publication date

  • June 1997