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Paraplegia. 1990 Jul;28(6):380-91.

Differences between rehabilitation disciplines in views of depression in spinal cord injury patients.

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  • 1Rehabilitation Institute, Detroit, MI 48201.


Reports based on clinical impressions have suggested that depression after spinal cord injury (SCI) is a near-universal phenomenon; however, studies using objective methods and strict criteria have not confirmed this. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences and opinions of rehabilitation clinicians with the depressed mood in their SCI patients. A questionnaire was completed by 149 staff members of various disciplines working in four specialised SCI rehabilitation centres. We found that the disciplines vary in the symptomatology they observe (nurses most, physicians and mental health professionals least), and that these differences to some degree correspond to variations in the estimate of the frequency and intensity of depression in the average patient. The amount of staff experience was found not to be a factor. The implications of these findings for theories of staff expectations regarding patient mood states and the functioning of the clinical team are discussed.

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