Differences in health, participation and life satisfaction outcomes in adults following paediatric- versus adult-sustained spinal cord injury
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STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional. OBJECTIVES: To compare differences in self-reported health status, participation and life satisfaction outcomes between adults with a spinal cord injury (SCI) sustained during paediatric (P) versus adulthood (A) years. SETTING: Ontario, Canada. METHODS: Secondary analysis of data from the Study of Health and Activity in People with SCI. Eighty-seven participants who sustained an SCI prior to age 19 (M±s.e.=25±1.5 years postinjury (YPI)) were matched for lesion level (C2-L5), severity (complete/incomplete), gender, age, education and ethnicity with 87 participants who sustained an SCI at ⩾age 19 years (MYPI=12.8±1.1). RESULTS: Those with a paediatric SCI reported significantly less pain, fewer visits to the physician in the past year, greater functional independence, social participation, occupational participation and minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity than those who sustained an SCI in adulthood. No significant differences were found for the measures of depression, perceived health status or life satisfaction (P>0.05). With the exception of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and visits to the physician in the past year, between-group differences were independent of YPI. CONCLUSIONS: Regardless of time since injury, people who sustained a paediatric SCI reported better health and greater participation than those injured in adulthood. Nevertheless, both groups scored well below able-bodied normative values for all measures. The results highlight the importance of a comprehensive life-course approach to SCI rehabilitation, irrespective of age at the time of injury.