A dyadic approach: the predictive role of social support and physical independence on life satisfaction of persons with Spinal Cord Injury or Acquired Brain Injury and their significant others
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Background: A decrease in life satisfaction is common among persons with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) or Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and for the person close to them: their significant other. This could have long-term impacts, such as psychological distress. The current study investigates if social support and physical independence of persons with SCI/ABI and their significant others (dyad) predict their life satisfaction six months after inpatient discharge. Research question: Does perceived social support of the person with SCI/ABI and their significant other and physical independence of the person with SCI/ABI measured shortly after the start of inpatient rehabilitation, predict life satisfaction of both persons in a dyad six months after inpatient rehabilitation? Method: Data were used from the POWER-study, a prospective quantitative longitudinal study conducted in 12 rehabilitation centres in the Netherlands among dyads between 2016 and 2018. Persons with SCI/ABI and their significant others filled in self-reported questionnaires separately at the start of inpatient rehabilitation and six months after inpatient discharge.154 dyads were included. Data were analysed using SPSS with independent t-tests, Pearson’s chi-squared tests, Pearson correlations and MANCOVA. Results: Dyads of the SCI-group scored lower on life satisfaction then dyads of the ABI-group. Life satisfaction of persons with SCI/ABI were correlated with life satisfaction of significant others. Perceived social support of the person with SCI/ABI and their significant others are not related to their life satisfaction. Physical independence is a predictor for the life satisfaction of the dyad. Conclusion: The relationship of life satisfaction between the dyad indicates that dyadic health should be considered. Therefore, significant others should be included to a greater extent in the rehabilitation and predictors such as physical independence can serve as risk screening during rehabilitation.