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Trajectories of Life Satisfaction After Spinal Cord Injury

      Abstract

      Objective

      To describe individual-level temporal change in life satisfaction after spinal cord injury.

      Design

      Individual growth curve (IGC) analysis of prospectively collected data from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research National Spinal Cord Injury Database (NSCID).

      Setting

      Multicenter, longitudinal database study.

      Participants

      Participants (N=4846) in the NSCID.

      Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measure

      Rasch-transformed Satisfaction With Life Scale scores.

      Results

      Individual-level trajectories reflecting life satisfaction vary extensively and are associated with demographic and injury-related characteristics. Demographic characteristics include race, sex, pre-employment and discharge marital status, and level of education; injury-related factors include days in rehabilitation, neurologic level, age at injury, and injury etiology. Results are displayed graphically by way of a computer-generated interactive tool and represent different trajectories of individual-level changes in life satisfaction.

      Conclusions

      IGC methodology allows researchers and clinicians to anticipate patient-specific trajectories through use of an automated interactive tool. Projected trajectories hold promise in facilitating planning for inpatient and outpatient services, which could enhance long-term outcomes.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      AIS (American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale), IGC (individual growth curve), NSCID (National Spinal Cord Injury Database), RTSWLS (Rasch-transformed Satisfaction With Life Scale), SCI (spinal cord injury), SWLS (Satisfaction With Life Scale)
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