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J Spinal Cord Med. 2015 Jan;38(1):76-83. doi: 10.1179/2045772313Y.0000000162. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

Psychosocial outcomes among youth with spinal cord injury by neurological impairment.


Objective Examine psychosocial outcomes of youth with spinal cord injury (SCI) as a function of neurological level (paraplegia/tetraplegia) and severity (American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale (AIS)). Design Survey research. Setting Three pediatric SCI specialty centers in the USA. Participants Youth with SCI ages 5-18 with neurological impairment classifications of: tetraplegia AIS ABC (tetraplegia ABC), paraplegia AIS ABC (paraplegia ABC), or AIS D. Outcome Measures Children's Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment, Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale, and Children's Depression Inventory. Results Three hundred and forty youth participated; 57% were male; 60% were Caucasian, 21% Hispanic, 7% African-American, 2% Native American, and 3% reported "other". Their mean age was 8.15 years (standard deviation (SD) = 5.84) at injury and 13.18 years (SD = 3.87) at interview. Ninety-six youth (28%) had tetraplegia ABC injuries, 191 (56%) paraplegia ABC injuries, and 53 (16%) AIS D injuries. Neurological impairment was significantly related to participation and quality of life (QOL). Specifically, youth with paraplegia ABC and AIS D injuries participated in more activities than youth with tetraplegia ABC (P = 0.002; P = 0.018, respectively) and youth with paraplegia ABC participated more often than youth with tetraplegia ABC (P = 0.006). Youth with paraplegia ABC reported higher social QOL than youth with tetraplegia ABC (P = 0.001) and AIS D injuries (P = 0.002). Groups did not differ regarding mental health. Conclusion Interventions should target youth with tetraplegia ABC, as they may need support in terms of participation, and both youth with tetraplegia ABC and AIS D injuries in terms of social integration.


Outcome assessment (healthcare); Paraplegia; Pediatrics; Spinal cord injuries; Tetraplegia

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