Assessment of the unmediated relationship between neurological impairment and health-related quality of life following spinal cord injury

Manuel Zwecker*, Eyal Heled, Vadim Bluvstein, Amiram Catz, Ayala Bloch, Gabi Zeilig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess the unmediated association between neurological impairment and quality of life (QoL) among persons with spinal cord injury (SCI), in the context of both early post-acute and long-term rehabilitation settings. Design: An observational prospective cross-sectional study. Setting: Two neurological rehabilitation centers, specializing in spinal cord injury, within a university hospital. Methods: 156 adults with spinal cord injury in the early post-acute and chronic stages of rehabilitation. Outcome Measures: Participants were categorized into tetraplegia or paraplegia groups based on neurological level of injury, and into complete or incomplete groups based on American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale (AIS) score. QoL was assessed by means of the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF), Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), Life Satisfaction Questionnaire (LISAT-9), and Personal Well-Being Index (PWI). Results: WHOQOL-BREF and PWI predicted Level of Injury group classification and WHOQOL-BREF predicted Setting group classification. None of the questionnaires differentiated between the Type of Injury groups. At the early post-acute stage of rehabilitation, the QoL scores of participants with tetraplegia and paraplegia did not differ significantly, while significantly higher QoL scores were revealed in paraplegics in the long-term setting group. Conclusions: A direct, unmediated effect of severity of neurological impairment was revealed with the WHOQOL-BREF, which distinguished between the tetraplegia and paraplegia groups, but not between the complete and incomplete injuries. QoL was significantly higher in paraplegia than in tetraplegia following the early post-acute stage of rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-300
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Cross-sectional survey
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injury


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