Objective: The objective of this study is to examine the interdependent associations between International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) domains and their relationship with environmental factors with regard to quality of life (QoL) in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Survey, cross-sectional study, and model testing using structural equation modeling. Setting: Two inpatient and outpatient SCI rehabilitation units, Sheba Medical Center and Loewenstein Hospital, Israel. Participants: Convenience sample of 156 individuals with SCI (N=156). Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: QoL assessed by the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment-BREF. Neurological impairment after SCI reflected by lesion completeness and neurologic level of injury as measured by the International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury. The Spinal Cord Independence Measure to assess SCI-related task performance. ICF Brief Core Sets composition scores to assess impairment in body structure and function domains, limitations in activities, restriction in participation constructs, and the effect of environmental factors within the ICF model. Results: Level of spinal cord injury and ICF Brief Core Sets composite score relating to activities and participation construct demonstrated a direct significant association with QoL. Moreover, a significant indirect association with QoL was found between the composite scores in ICF body structure and function and environmental factors, level of spinal cord injury, time since injury onset, and sex. Because the Spinal Cord Independence Measure was not related to QoL, we inferred that the categories related to instrumental activities of daily living and participation exert the most significant influence on QoL. Conclusions: In order to optimize improvements in quality of life, current rehabilitation programs should target limitations specifically related to instrumental activities of daily living and participation restrictions. It may serve as a focal point for further development of current therapeutic models and analytical methods that optimize rehabilitation planning and decision making among both health care professionals and patients.
- International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)
- Quality of life
- Spinal cord injury
- structural equation modeling (SEM)