Objective: To describe the course of social support in persons with recently acquired spinal cord injury, and to examine direct and indirect relationships between social support and life satisfaction over time.
Design: A multi-centre prospective cohort study with measurements at the start of active rehabilitation, at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation and one year after discharge. Subjects: One hundred and ninety individuals with spinal cord injury from 8 Dutch rehabilitation centres.
Methods: Social support was measured with the Social Support List-12. Life satisfaction was measured as the sum score of current life satisfaction and current life satisfaction compared with life satisfaction before spinal cord injury. Distress was operationalized as functional dependence and measured with the Functional Independence Measure. Random coefficient analysis was used for the analyses.
Results: Everyday social support and support in problem situations decreased, and esteem support remained stable over time. Everyday support and support in problem situations were directly associated with life satisfaction over time. Significant interaction effects between social support and distress on life satisfaction were found.
Conclusion: Different types of social support showed different courses over time. Social support was associated with life satisfaction after spinal cord injury, in particular in persons with relatively high levels of distress.
- spinal cord injury
- prospective study
- social support
- life satisfaction