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Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil. 2014 Winter;20(1):40-7. doi: 10.1310/sci2001-40.

Household income and subjective well-being after spinal cord injury: a longitudinal study.

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



Studies regarding subjective well-being (SWB) after spinal cord injury (SCI) are increasing in recent years, but little has been contributed to the relationship between income and SWB.


By using longitudinal data, we want to identify (1) the overall trend in SWB over a 10-year period; (2) the association between household income and SWB at baseline; (3) the variation of the trajectory of SWB over 10 years among different household income groups; and (4) the variation of change rates of SWB over 10 years among different household income groups.


We conducted a cohort study, including 434 participants who completed 3 measurements in 1998, 2003, and 2008. They were identified from outpatient records of 2 midwestern hospitals and a southeastern specialty hospital.


People with lower household income experienced more life problems and less life satisfaction at the baseline measurement. During the 10-year period, their health problems and environmental barriers significantly increased compared to persons with higher income. Increasing vocational satisfaction was the only favorable change for the lower income group.


There were consistent disparities in SWB related to income, and these typically persisted over time. Therefore, with the exception of vocational satisfaction, few changes may be anticipated in SWB that would narrow the gap between high and low income.


income; life problem; life satisfaction; spinal cord injury; subjective well-being

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