Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Coping and Adaptation in Adults Living With Spinal Cord Injury

Barone, Stacey Hoffman; Waters, Katherine

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: October 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 5 - p 271–283
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0b013e3182666203

ABSTRACT Biopsychosocial adaptation remains a multifaceted challenge for individuals with spinal cord injury, their families, and healthcare providers alike. The development of frequent medical complications necessitating healthcare interventions is an ongoing, debilitating, and costly problem for those living with spinal cord injuries. Although several demographic variables have been correlated with positive adaptation in individuals with spinal cord injury, the research outcome data present limitations in understanding and facilitating which coping techniques work best to augment biopsychosocial adaptation in this population. Coping facilitates adaptation and adjustment to stress and can help to increase quality of life in people living with spinal cord injury and reduce common complications. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which sociodemographic characteristics and hardiness explain coping in 243 adults living with a spinal cord injury. In addition, this study examined which predictors of coping explain biopsychosocial adaptation. A descriptive explanatory design was utilized. Standardized instruments were administered nationally to assess hardiness, coping, and physiological and psychosocial adaptation. Canonical correlation and multiple regression analyses indicated that less educated, less hardy, and recently injured participants were more likely to use escape–avoidance coping and less likely to use social support, problem solving, and positive reappraisal coping behaviors (p < .05). Individuals with paraplegia had a higher level of functional ability, spent less time in rehabilitation, had a greater sense of control, and experienced less frequent complications. The control dimension of hardiness was the only dimension that significantly related to biopsychosocial adaptation within this sample.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Stacey Hoffman Barone, PhD RN CRRN, at She is an associate clinical professor, Boston College, William F. Connell School of Nursing, Chestnut Hill, MA.

Katherine Waters, RN BSN, is a staff nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, Heme/Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, and a Master of Science in Nursing Candidate at Boston College, William F. Connell School of Nursing, Chestnut Hill, MA.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses