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Health-related quality of life for veterans with spinal cord injury

Smith BM, Lavela SL, Weaver FM. Health-related quality of life for veterans with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord. 2008 Jul 1; 46(7):507-12.

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STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to examine the association between the characteristics of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) and self-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL). SETTING: The United States. METHODS: Questions from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey were sent to veterans with SCI. The analyses included 2302 respondents. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between subject characteristics and the following four measures of HRQoL: frequent physical distress (FPD), frequent mental distress (FMD), frequent depressive symptoms (FDS) and poor or fair self-reported health. RESULTS: Approximately 19% of the respondents reported FMD, 27% reported FPD, 17% reported FDS and 29% reported poor or fair health. Veterans who self-reported chronic illnesses, had higher odds of reporting FPD, FMD, FDS and poor or fair health than veterans who did not report chronic illnesses. Smoking was significantly associated with decreased HRQoL. Older veterans had higher odds of reporting poor or fair health and FPD than younger veterans. Higher levels of education were associated with lower odds of FMD, FDS and poor or fair health. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic illnesses and smoking have a substantial effect on HRQoL for persons with SCI, suggesting the importance of continued efforts to improve smoking cessation methods and to treat and prevent chronic conditions.

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