Quality of Life Research

, Volume 23, Issue 10, pp 2693–2705 | Cite as

Modeling life satisfaction in spinal cord injury: the role of psychological resources

  • Claudio Peter
  • Rachel Müller
  • Alarcos Cieza
  • Marcel W. M. Post
  • Christel M. C. van Leeuwen
  • Christina S. Werner
  • Szilvia Geyh



The aims of the study were (1) to examine the associations between the psychological resources general self-efficacy (GSE) and purpose in life (PIL), appraisals, coping and life satisfaction, and (2) to examine whether the effects of the psychological resources on life satisfaction are mediated by appraisals and coping, as proposed by the spinal cord injury adjustment model (SCIAM).


Cross-sectional multicenter study conducted with persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) living in the community in Switzerland (N = 516). Pearson’s correlations were calculated for aim 1, and structural equation modeling was conducted to address aim 2.


GSE (r = .48) and PIL (r = .58) were positively related to life satisfaction. The initial model corresponding to the SCIAM yielded a poor model fit. The final model had a good model fit [χ 2 = 66.0, df = 21, p < .01, RMSEA = .065 (90 % confidence interval .048–.082), CFI = .97] explaining 57 % of variance of life satisfaction. PIL had a direct large effect on life satisfaction (β = .54). The influence of GSE on life satisfaction was mediated by loss appraisals. Avoidance, active and humor coping had small effects on life satisfaction.


Psychological resources have a substantial effect on life satisfaction in persons with SCI. Our results correspond with the SCIAM and its conceptualization of adjustment as a multifactorial process, but did not fully support the hypothesized mediation. PIL was strongly related to higher life satisfaction and may be a suitable intervention target to support persons with SCI.


Spinal cord injuries Psychological adjustment (= adaptation, psychological) Self-efficacy Purpose in life Quality of life Structural models 



This study has been financed in the framework of the Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Cohort Study (SwiSCI,, supported by the Swiss Paraplegic Association. The members of the SwiSCI Steering Committee are: Olivier Dériaz (Clinique Romande de Réadaptation, Sion); Michael Baumberger and Hans Peter Gmünder (Swiss Paraplegic Center, Nottwil); Armin Curt and Martin Schubert (University Clinic Balgrist, Zürich); Kerstin Hug and Margret Hund-Georgiadis (REHAB Basel, Basel); Hans Georg Koch and Urs Styger (Swiss Paraplegic Association, Nottwil); Hardy Landolt (representative for persons with SCI, Glarus); Rita Schaumann-Von Stosch (SUVA, Luzern); Mirjam Brach and Gerold Stucki (Swiss Paraplegic Research, Nottwil); and Martin Brinkhof and Christine Thyrian (SwiSCI Study Center at Swiss Paraplegic Research, Nottwil). We are indebted to study participants and to the personnel of the SwiSCI study center.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Peter
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rachel Müller
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alarcos Cieza
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marcel W. M. Post
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christel M. C. van Leeuwen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christina S. Werner
    • 4
  • Szilvia Geyh
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF)NottwilSwitzerland
  2. 2.Unit for Biopsychosocial Health, Department of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, Chair for Public Health and Health Care ResearchLudwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany
  3. 3.Brain Center Rudolf Magnus and Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation MedicineUniversity Medical Center Utrecht and De HoogstraatUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Psychological Methods, Evaluation and Statistics, Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Department Health Sciences and Health PolicyUniversity of Lucerne and at SPFNottwilSwitzerland

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