The impact of Internet access for people with spinal cord injuries: a descriptive analysis of a pilot study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: A pilot study was undertaken regarding the effect of Internet access on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and self-reported impact for people with spinal cord injuries (SCI). This study is unique in providing free Internet access and looking at benefits for people with disabilities. METHOD: HRQoL was measured using indicators of global health and social isolation at baseline and after 6 to 19 months of use via telephone interviews on a convenience sample of 23 adults with SCI. Additionally, monthly telephone surveys measured usage patterns, recreation, and self-reported impact. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted. Bivariate tests for differences in proportions and paired T-tests were conducted. Qualitatively, conceptual categories of impact were created using the Constant Comparative Method. RESULTS: Qualitatively, the predominant benefit was quality of life, mentioned by 61% of participants 46% of months surveyed, with quantitative trends towards improved emotional health. Ease of access to information, social connection, and quality of information were also frequently reported, with modest support from quantitative data. CONCLUSIONS: The study's persuasive qualitative results suggest the Internet has particular benefit to people with disabilities and that rehabilitation goals should include leisure. Further scientific research is strongly warranted.


  • Houlihan, Bethlyn Vergo
  • Drainoni, Mari-Lynn
  • Warner, Grace
  • Nesathurai, Shanker
  • Wierbicky, Jane
  • Williams, Steven

publication date

  • January 2003