Psychological investigation of spinal cord injury patients

Giorgio Scivoletto, Annelisa Petrelli, Lina Di Lucente, Vincenzo Castellano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spinal cord injuries (SCI) often have psychological consequences, primarily anxiety and depression, which may interfere with rehabilitation possibilities, with adjustment to the impairment and therefore with the possibility of returning to previous familiar social life and work. To assess the degree of anxiety and depression in SCI patients, and to study the factors contributing to their genesis, 100 SCI in- and out-patients were administered questionnaires for self-rating anxiety and depression. A group of newly injured patients was followed up for a year after their discharge to study the evolution of the two psychological syndromes. These two psychological pathologies in SCI patients were respectively 13% (anxiety) and 16% (depression). Some characteristics were significantly associated with a higher risk of developing psychological distress: the presence of severe complications, the lack of autonomy, and low educational level. We did not observe any modification of the psychological picture over time. The lack of reduction in anxiety and depression over time could mean that the two pathologies are maintained by the obstacles SCI patients meet every day resulting from their neurological deficit. Our data justify the provision of psychological services for SCI patients in the rehabilitation centres; these services should still be available to the patients even after discharge. .

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-520
Number of pages5
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Psychological distress
  • Spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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