Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Krause, J. S., & Coker, J. L. (2006). Aging after spinal cord injury: A 30-year longitudinal study. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 29 (4), 371-376.
Title:  Aging after spinal cord injury: A 30-year longitudinal study
Authors:  Krause, J. S., & Coker, J. L.
Year:  2006
Journal/Publication:  The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Publisher:  American Paraplegia Society
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Survey research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Adapting to aging is a challenge for all individuals. Aging presents a different challenge to individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Individuals that are older at time of injury have an increased likelihood of developing health issues. Cross sectional studies can examine the effects of SCI at a targeted age group but longitudinal studies can track changes in the health of individuals with SCI over time.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to examine aging in individuals with SCI over the course of nearly 30 years.
Setting:  Participants were initially recruited from a Midwestern hospital in 1973. The 256 initial participants all met the following criteria: (1) traumatic SCI, (2) at least 18 years old, (3) at least 2 years post injury. The final number of 78 participants responded to all of the surveys over the next 3 decades. Eighty-six percent of the participants were male.
Data collection and analysis:  The Life Situation Questionnaire (LSQ) was given to all participants at the start of the study in 1973 and then twice more at 15 year intervals. The LSQ assessed life satisfaction, self-rated adjustment, employment status, activities, and medical treatments.
Findings:  Sitting tolerance and educational and employment outcomes all improved in the first 15 years. Over the next 15 years declines were seen in the forms of increased physician visits, decreased sitting tolerance, and decreased satisfaction in social and sex life.
Conclusions:  The findings suggest that improvement can be seen in many areas of life following a SCI. However, aging will cause decline in persons with SCI just as it will in the general population.

Disabilities served:  Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Outcomes:  Other