Correlates of life satisfaction among persons with spinal cord injury

Marcel P.J.M. Dijkers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

241 Scopus citations


Objective: To analyze the correlates of life satisfaction for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Study Design: Survey; follow-up of subjects studied prospectively since onset of injury. Participants: A total of 2,183 persons with SCI, from l to 20 years postinjury, self-selected for annual research (and clinical) follow-up by one of 18 model systems of SCI care. Results: Life satisfaction, as measured with the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), is associated with several demographic, social, functional, and clinical characteristics. Stepwise linear regression analysis resulted in a predictor model that included the following: sex (beta weight: .07; p < .001); number of rehospitalizations in the last year (-.05; p < .05); years since injury (. 13; p < .0001); sociocognitive disability as measured with the Functional Independence Measure (.06; p < .01); and three handicap components, as measured with the modified Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique: mobility (.26; p < .0001); occupation (.10; p < .001); and social integration (. 11; p < .0001). Impairment (level of injury) contributed indirectly, through its impact on motor disability. Racial/ethnic group membership, motor disability, and education contributed indirectly, through their effects on handicap. Conclusions: Life satisfaction after SCI can be reliably measured by means of the SWLS. Correlates of subjective well- being parallel those suggested by earlier studies and those for the population at large. The effects of life satisfaction on social participation, health, and other aspects of life need further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-876
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


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