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Coping with spinal cord injury: personal and marital adjustment in the Hong Kong Chinese setting

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    Coping with spinal cord injury: personal and marital adjustment in the Hong Kong Chinese setting

    • Chan RC, Lee PW and Lieh-Mak F (2000). Coping with spinal cord injury: personal and marital adjustment in the Hong Kong Chinese setting. Spinal Cord. 38 (11): 687-96. Summary: STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional retrospective study was carried out with structured questionnaires and semi-structured interviews on 66 persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) and 40 spouses. OBJECTIVES: The study aimed to explore the psychosocial adjustment of Hong Kong Chinese couples at the post SCI stage. An important study interest was the impact of care-giving in spouses of persons with SCI. SETTING: Three major regional rehabilitation centres and one community resource centre in Hong Kong. METHODS: A set of psychometric measures tapping different aspects of psychological functioning was included. These were locus of control (Levenson's Internality, Powerful Others, and Chance Scale), perceived social support (Provision of Social Relationship), coping strategies (Ways of Coping Checklist), marital adjustment (Dyadic Adjustment Scale), caregiving burden (Caregiver Burden Inventory), depression (Beck Depression Inventory), life satisfaction (Satisfaction with Life Situation), and social role adjustment (Katz Adjustment Scale - Relative Form). RESULTS: Persons with SCI with pre-injury marriage were more depressed (P<0.05) as compared with those with post-injury marriage. However, the two groups did not differ in terms of satisfaction with life situation and social role dissatisfaction. The spouses in the preinjury marriage reported a significantly higher score in time-dependent burden than those in the post-injury marriage [P<0.05). Care-giving burden was associated with locus of control, social support, and modes of coping [P<0.05). CONCLUSION: The impact of SCI is a long-lasting effect not limited to the patients but also extending to their spouses. Findings from the adjustment outcomes and coping styles of persons with SCI and their spouses indicate that they are not passive victims. A similar injury may produce different outcomes in different individuals. Rehabilitation professionals should thus be alert to both the couple's differing needs and idiosyncrasies in their helping process. <> The Department of Psychology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, China.

    This study shows again a very interesting statistic. Those caregivers who were married to the injured individual before injury provided more care and were more depressed than those who were married after the injury.

    Note the similarity of this statistic with the French study indicating that those couples that were together before injury are less happy than those that paired after injury.

    [This message was edited by Wise Young on September 04, 2001 at 05:11 AM.]