Change in Life Satisfaction of Adults With Pediatric-Onset Spinal Cord Injury

Yuying Chen, Caroline J. Anderson, Lawrence C. Vogel, Kathleen M. Chlan, Randal R. Betz, Craig M McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Chen Y, Anderson CJ, Vogel LC, Chlan KM, Betz RR, McDonald CM. Change in life satisfaction of adults with pediatric-onset spinal cord injury. Objectives: To examine the change in life satisfaction over time and potential contributing factors among adults with pediatric-onset spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Prospective dynamic cohort study. Setting: Community. Participants: Individuals who sustained a SCI before age 19 years (N=278) were initially interviewed at age 24 years or older and followed on an annual basis between 1996 and 2006. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: A structured telephone interview was conducted to obtain the measures of Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), physical independence, participation, and psychologic functioning. The hierarchical linear modeling was performed to characterize individual person-specific time paths and estimate the average rate of change in SWLS over time. Results: A total of 1171 interviews were conducted among 184 men and 94 women (89% white; baseline age, 27.1±3.4y; baseline years since injury, 12.8±4.9). The initial SWLS score averaged 24.2 and was estimated to increase by 0.14 a year (P=.10). After adjusting for potential confounding factors, the overall life satisfaction was significantly higher for women and those who were married/living with a partner; were employed/students; did not use illicit drugs; and scored high in the FIM, the mental health component of the Short Form-12, and the social integration subscale of the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique. The rate of change in life satisfaction did not differ significantly by any personal, medical, and psychosocial characteristics under investigation. Conclusions: The study findings suggest that people who feel unsatisfied with life initially are likely to stay unsatisfied over time if the critical determinant factors remain unchanged in their life. To minimize the risk of decreasing life satisfaction, several modifiable risk factors identified in the present study could be targeted for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2285-2292
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Adolescence
  • Child
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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