Access to the environment and life satisfaction after spinal cord injury

J. Scott Richards, Charles H. Bombardier, Denise Tate, Marcel Dijkers, Wayne Gordon, Richard Shewchuk, Michael J. DeVivo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    107 Scopus citations


    Objective: To determine the potential relation between satisfaction with life after spinal cord injury and access to the environment as measured by selected items from the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique (CHART). Design: Prospective, correlational/predictive study using cross- sectional and longitudinal data from 18 Model Spinal Cord Injury Systems of Care. Subjects: Adult persons with traumatic-onset spinal cord injury (n = 650) evaluated at 1 or 2 years postinjury. Outcome Measure: Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Predictor Variables: Demographic characteristics, impairment and disability classifications, medical complications, rehabilitation insurance status, occupational status as measured by the CHART Occupation Scale, self-perceived health (from SF-36), and access to the environment as measured by items from the CHART Mobility Scale. Results: Access to the environment was positively and linearly associated with satisfaction with life, demonstrated both positive and negative change over time, and was positively associated with subject's neurologic status. Access to the environment added to the explanatory model to predict life satisfaction even after all other independent measures were accounted for. Conclusion: Access to the environment (an 'outside the person' factor) is important in predicting satisfaction with life for persons with spinal cord injury. The measure of access to the environment developed here is promising and worthy of further exploration and expansion.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1501-1506
    Number of pages6
    JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - Nov 1999


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