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Risk Factors for Suicidality in Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury: A Focus on Physical and Functional Characteristics

Ann Rehabil Med. 2023 Oct;47(5):377-384. doi: 10.5535/arm.23110. Epub 2023 Oct 4.


OBJECTIVE: : To demonstrate the association between the physical and functional characteristics of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) and suicidality, an area of research that is less understood than the association with demographic, social, and psychological characteristics.

METHODS: : A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted with 259 patients with SCI admitted for rehabilitation at the National Rehabilitation Center, Seoul, between January 2019 and December 2021. Demographic, SCI-related, physical, and functional data were collected from their medical records. Suicide risk was assessed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview.

RESULTS: : The 259 participants had an average age of 49.1 years, and 75.7% were male. The analysis revealed a statistically significant negative correlation between age and suicidality. No significant differences were found for sex, education, occupation, or SCI-related factors. Lower upper extremity motor score (UEMS) was significantly associated with higher suicide risk. Regarding functional factors, the inability to perform independent rolling, come to sit, wheelchair propelling, and self-driving were associated with increased suicidality. In the multiple linear regression analysis, lower UEMS, limited shoulder joint motion, upper extremity spasticity, and dependent wheelchair propulsion were predictors of higher suicide risk.

CONCLUSION: : This study highlights the associations among physical status, functional dependency, and suicide risk in individuals with SCI. These findings emphasize the need to address psychological aspects and physical and functional factors in the management of individuals with SCI who are at a high risk of suicide.

PMID:37907229 | DOI:10.5535/arm.23110

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