Psychological impact of sports activity in spinal cord injury patients

M. C. Gioia, A. Cerasa, L. Di Lucente, S. Brunelli, V. Castellano, M. Traballesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate whether sports activity is associated with better psychological profiles in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) and to evaluate the effect of demographic factors on psychological benefits. Methods: The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Form X2 (STAI-X2), the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire for extraversion (EPQ-R (E)) and the questionnaire for depression (QD) were administered in a cross-sectional study of 137 males with spinal cord injury including 52 tetraplegics and 85 paraplegics. The subjects were divided into two groups according to sports activity participation (high frequency vs no sports participation). Moreover, multiple regression analysis was adopted to investigate the influence of demographic variables, such as age, educational level, occupational status and marital status, on psychological variables. Results: Analysis of variance revealed significant differences among the groups for anxiety (STAI-X2), extraversion (EPQ-R (E)) and depression (QD). In particular, SCI patients who did not practice sports showed higher anxiety and depression scores and lower extraversion scores than sports participants. In addition, with respect to the paraplegics, the tetraplegic group showed the lowest depression scores. Following multiple regression analysis, only the sports activity factor remained as an independent factor of anxiety scores. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that sports activity is associated with better psychological status in SCI patients, irrespective of tetraplegia and paraplegia, and that psychological benefits are not emphasized by demographic factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-416
Number of pages5
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Depression
  • Extraversion
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Sports activity
  • Trait anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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