Participation and satisfaction after spinal cord injury: results of a vocational and leisure outcome study

MC Schonherr*, JW Groothoff, GA Mulder, WH Eisma, M.C. Schönherr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Study design: Survey.

Objectives: Insight in (1) the changes in participation in vocational and leisure activities and (2) satisfaction with the current participation level of people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) after reintegration in society.

Design: Descriptive analysis of data from a questionnaire.

Setting: Rehabilitation centre with special department for patients with SCIs, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Subjects: A total of 57 patients with traumatic SCI living in the community, who were admitted to the rehabilitation centre two to 12 years before the current assessment.

Main outcome measures: Changes in participation in activities; current life satisfaction; support and unmet needs.

Results: Participation expressed in terms of hours spent on vocational and leisure activities changed to a great extent after the SCI. This was mainly determined by a large reduction of hours spent on paid work. While 60% of the respondents successfully reintegrated in work, many changes took place in the type and extent of the job. Loss of work was partially compensated with domestic and leisure activities. Sports activities were reduced substantially. The change in participation level and compensation for the lost working hours was not significantly associated with the level of SCI-specific health problems and disabilities. As was found in other studies, most respondents were satisfied with their lives. Determinants of a negative life satisfaction several years following SCI were not easily indicated. Reduced quality of life was particularly related to an unsatisfactory work and leisure situation.

Conclusions: Most people with SCI in this study group were able to resume work and were satisfied with their work and leisure situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-248
Number of pages8
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2005


  • spinal cord injury
  • rehabilitation
  • participation
  • satisfaction
  • WORK

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