Post-traumatic growth following spinal cord injury

Academic Article


  • Context/objective: Examine the relationship of post-traumatic psychological growth (PTG), depression, and personal and injury characteristics in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Community. Participants: Eight hundred and twenty-four adults with SCI. Interventions: None. Outcome measures: Five items from the Post-traumatic Growth Inventory, reflecting positive change after injury in life priorities, closeness to others, new opportunities being available, stronger faith, and personal strength. Results: Initial structural equation model testing of a conceptual model of personal and injury characteristics, violent etiology, depression, and PTG resulted in a poor fit. Model modifications resulted in an improved fit, but explained only 5% of the variance in PTG. Being female, younger, having less formal education, and less time since injury had significant relationships with PTG, whereas depression, violent etiology, and injury level/severity did not. In each PTG domain, between 54 and 79% of the sample reported at least some positive change after injury. Conclusions: The results of this study, while promising, explained only a small portion of the variance in PTG. A majority of the sample experienced some positive change after injury, with the greatest change in discovering that they were stronger than they thought they were. Comparing means previously reported in a non-SCI sample of those who experienced trauma, positive change after injury was comparable for each PTG item except for new opportunities being available, which was significantly lower for those with SCI. Future directions of research include the development of theoretical models of PTG after SCI. © The Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, Inc. 2014.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kalpakjian CZ; McCullumsmith CB; Fann JR; Richards JS; Stoelb BL; Heinemann AW; Bombardier CH
  • Start Page

  • 218
  • End Page

  • 225
  • Volume

  • 37
  • Issue

  • 2