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Spinal Cord. 2005 Jun;43(6):349-56.

A 25-year longitudinal study of the natural course of aging after spinal cord injury.

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  • 1Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.



Longitudinal; Survey.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the natural course of changes in activity patterns, health indicators, life satisfaction, and adjustment over 25-year period among people with spinal cord injury (SCI) in the USA.


The preliminary data were collected from a Midwestern United States university hospital of the USA, whereas the follow-up data were collected at a large Southeastern United States rehabilitation hospital.


The Life Situation Questionnaire was used to identify changes in education/employment, activities, medical treatments, adjustment, and life satisfaction.


Adjustment scores, satisfaction with employment, satisfaction with finances, years of education, and employment indicators significantly improved over time. In contrast, satisfaction with sex life, satisfaction with health, and then number of weekly visitors significantly decreased and the number of nonroutine medical visits and days hospitalized within 2 years prior to the study significantly increased over the 25-year period.


Given the mixed pattern of favorable and unfavorable changes, the findings challenge the assumption that aging will inevitably be associated with the overall decline in outcomes and quality of life.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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