Original research| Volume 97, ISSUE 10, P1714-1720, October 2016

Objective and Self-Reported Physical Activity Measures and Their Association With Depression and Satisfaction With Life in Persons With Spinal Cord Injury

Published:April 21, 2016DOI:



      To identify associations between objective and self-reported measures of physical activity (PA) and relationships with depression and satisfaction with life (SWL) in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI).


      Retrospective, cross-sectional study of objectively measured wheelchair propulsion (WCP) from 2 studies in which an odometer was attached to participants' wheelchairs to record daily speed and distance. Self-reported data were collected in a separate study examining dyspnea, PA, mood, and SWL.


      Outpatient clinic in a rehabilitation center.


      Individuals (N=86) with traumatic SCI who use a manual wheelchair.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Objective measures of PA included average daily distance and speed of WCP measured by an odometer. Self-report questionnaires included demographics, the 24-hour recall of transfers, Physical Activity Recall Assessment for People with SCI, the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) to document depressive symptoms, and the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS).


      Both objective measures of WCP, average daily distance and speed, were predicted by the combination of self-reported daily time away from home/yard and lower frequency of car transfers ([r=.367, P=.002] and [r=.434, P<.001], respectively). Daily distance of WCP was negatively correlated with depression (PHQ-2) (r=−.309, P=.004). Time in leisure PA was the only significant predictor of SWLS scores (r=.321, P=.003).


      Short-term recall of hours away from home/yard not spent driving or riding in a vehicle is suggested as a self-report measure that is moderately related to overall WCP PA in this population. Results of this study suggest that depression is related to decreased PA and WCP activity, while SWL is related to leisure PA.


      List of abbreviations:

      LTPA (leisure-time physical activity), PA (physical activity), PHQ-2 (Patient Health Questionnaire-2), QOL (quality of life), SWL (satisfaction with life), SWLS (Satisfaction With Life Scale), SCI (spinal cord injury), SCIMS (Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems), WCP (wheelchair propulsion)
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