Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - QOL in SCI (Evaluation of quality of life in people with spinal cord injuries in Poland on the eve of integration with the European Union)

The main aim of the project was to evaluate the quality of life (QOL) in people with spinal cord injury (SCI) in Poland on the eve of integration with the European Union.

1.214 randomly selected people with SCI (84.5% men) who met the following criteria: SCI at level C5 or below, wheelchair dependent (ASIA grade: A, B or C), aged between 18 and 50 at the time of injury, injured at least 1 year prior to the study, admitted to the rehabilitation centre within 6 months of injury and resident in Poland, participated in the study. The measures used included: The Sports Participation Questionnaire, The Life Satisfaction Questionnaire, The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and The Athletic Identity Measurement Scale.

The mean score for participants with SCI happiness (life as a whole) was 3.72 i.e. between 'rather satisfying' and 'satisfying'. The highest level of satisfaction existed within two social domains: family life (4.39) and contacts with friends and acquaintances (4.37). In contrast, the lowest level of satisfaction was found in regard to the participants' vocational situation (2.43), financial situation (2.60), and sexual life (2.67). Employment rate (full-time or part-time) amongst participants was 23.5% and the main reason for being unemployed was lack of accessible work places. Significant differences were found between general (total) life satisfaction and nine independent variables: participation in sports, marital status, level of injury, employment, education, age at the time of injury, hours of help needed from other people, anxiety and depression. 66.4% of the respondents with SCI hopes that their situation, especially access to public places and transportation, will get better as the result of integration between Poland and the EU. 5.3% of participants had fears that integration with the EU would cause increase of cost of living and decrease governmental support for people with disabilities.

Subjective QOL (life satisfaction) of people with SCI in Poland on the eve of integration with the EU is lower in comparison to people with SCI living in other European countries (e.g. Sweden and UK). Also objective components of QOL in SCI in Poland (e.g. employment rate) are much lower in comparison to other EU countries (23.5% in Poland versus 36.1% in the UK). Most of participants with SCI hope that integration with the UE will bring them many positive changes but a lot of areas that need improvement were identified by this study.

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