Examination and measurement of coping among adolescents with spinal cord injury

T. F. Smith, H. F. Russell, E. H. Kelly, M. J. Mulcahey, R. R. Betz, L. C. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Study design:Cross-sectional survey.Objectives:To describe coping strategy use in adolescents with spinal cord injury (SCI), to explore the underlying factor structure of a measure of coping among adolescents with SCI and to assess relationships between coping and psychosocial outcomes. Setting: Multiple pediatric SCI centers in the United States.Methods:One hundred and eighty-two participants aged 13-17 years who experienced an SCI completed measures including the Kidcope, Children's Depression Inventory, Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory.Results: Participants reported that cognitive restructuring and resignation are the most used coping strategies, whereas social support, emotional regulation (calming) and cognitive restructuring are the most effective coping strategies. An exploratory factor analysis revealed that a three-factor solution provided the most parsimonious model for the relationships between the different coping strategies. However, only one of the three factors had acceptable internal consistency. This factor comprised escape-oriented coping strategies or an avoidant approach to coping with the sequelae of SCI. After controlling for demographic/injury-related factors, higher scores on the escape-oriented factor were associated with the lower quality of life and higher levels of depression and anxiety symptomatology.Conclusion:Escape-oriented coping is associated with maladaptive psychosocial outcomes in adolescents with SCI. These adolescents report that active coping strategies are most effective in reducing SCI-related distress. Coping strategy use may mediate psychosocial outcomes in adolescents with SCI and represent an intervention target in adolescents who overly rely on escape-oriented coping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-714
Number of pages5
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescents
  • coping
  • factor analysis
  • pediatric spinal cord injury
  • quality of life


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