Early versus late onset of spinal cord injury among the elderly

Academic Article


  • The objective of this study is to compare elderly individuals with late (≥60 years old) versus early (<60 years old) onset spinal cord injury (SCI) across quality of life (QOL) domains for which cross-sectional design was used. The outcome measures selected were secondary medical complications (e.g., pneumonia, autonomic dysreflexia, number of days hospitalized), Functional Independence Measure (FIM), Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), and the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique (CHART). Analyses between groups showed that individuals with SCI onset 60 years of age or older were significantly older, had a greater proportion of incomplete lesions, were more likely to have SCI resulting from medical complication, and were less likely to be working. After controlling for differences in demographic and lesion characteristics, the majority of QOL domains were similar between groups. However, overall self-reported handicap (CHART-total score) was significantly greater among elderly with late onset SCI, particularly in the areas of physical independence and social integration. Differences in QOL between elderly with late versus early onset SCI were most prominent in the area of physical independence and social integration. The importance of appropriate statistical control, theoretical implications, and future directions are discussed.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Barrett JJ; Putzke JD; Richards JS
  • Start Page

  • 219
  • End Page

  • 226
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 3