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Factors Influencing Self-Care Behaviors in Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders

LaVela SL, Etingen B, Miskevics SA. Factors Influencing Self-Care Behaviors in Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders. Topics in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. 2016 Mar 1; 22(1):27-38.

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Background: Individuals with spinal cord injury/disorder (SCI/D) must learn to adjust to and manage functional challenges after SCI/D onset. For these individuals, resilience (ie, the adaptive response to stressful events) may be related to their willingness and ability to conduct self-care behaviors. Objective: The study objectives were to examine the relationship between patient-reported perceptions of independence in performing self-care behaviors and resilience among Veterans with SCI/D and to examine variables (including resilience) associated with high self-care scores (controlling for confounders). Methods: In this cross-sectional survey, we conducted bivariate analyses to examine differences in demographic, injury, and health characteristics and resilience scores for individuals with SCI/D. We conducted a multivariate block-design linear regression to examine factors associated with ability to perform self-care. Results: Level of injury ( = 7.74, P < .0001), resilience ( = 0.08, P = .0216), marital status ( = 1.75, P = .0445), and living arrangement ( = 4.37, P < .0001) were positively related to higher self-care behaviors. Completeness of injury ( = -2.79, P < .0001), age ( = -0.09, P = .0052), age at injury ( = -0.05, P = .0129), and number of comorbid health conditions ( = -0.72, P < .0001) showed negative relationships with higher self-care. Conclusions: Self-care ability is related to multiple factors, including resilience. The positive relationship between resilience and self-care suggests that greater resilience, independent of injury level/severity, may contribute to improved self-care behaviors in individuals with SCI/D. Other factors that showed a positive relationship with self-care included younger age, living alone, paraplegic level injury, and fewer health conditions. Understanding the profile of persons with SCI/D with regard to self-care behaviors is important to the development of tailored interventions to improve self-care.

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