Trajectories and Predictors of the Course of Mental Health After Spinal Cord Injury

Christel M. van Leeuwen, Trynke Hoekstra, Casper F. van Koppenhagen, Sonja de Groot, Marcel W. Post*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


van Leeuwen CM, Hoekstra T, van Koppenhagen CF, de Groot S, Post MW. Trajectories and predictors of the course of mental health after spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2012;93:2170-6.

Objective: To study the course and predictors of mental health in the period between the start of active spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation and 5 years after discharge. The hypothesis was that different mental health trajectories would be identified.

Design: Multicenter prospective cohort study with measurements at the start of active rehabilitation, after 3 months, at discharge, 1, 2, and 5 years after discharge.

Setting: Eight Dutch rehabilitation centers with specialized SCI units.

Participants: Persons (N=206) with recently acquired SCI aged between 18 and 65 years.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measure: The 5-item Mental Health Index with a total score between 0 (lowest mental health) and 100 (highest mental health).

Results: Levels of mental health increased between the start of active rehabilitation and 3 months later, remained stable thereafter, and increased again between 2 and 5 years after discharge. Latent class growth mixture modeling revealed 5 trajectories: (1) high scores (above 80) at all time-points (52%), (2) low scores (

Conclusions: Five different mental health trajectories were identified between the start of active rehabilitation and 5 years after discharge. About one third of the persons with SCI still perceived moderate to severe mental health problems 5 years after discharge. Pain, sex, and education level only predicted a small part of the variance in mental health trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2170-2176
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2012


  • Mental health
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries

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