Psychological Well-Being After Spinal Cord Injury: Perception of Loss and Meaning Making

Terri A. deRoon-Cassini, Ed de St. Aubin, Abbey Valvano, James Hastings, Patricia Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examined the influence of medical injury severity, perceived loss of physical functioning (conceptualized as physical resource loss), and global meaning making on psychological well-being among 79 veterans living with a spinal cord injury. Measures: Structured interviews were completed to assess perceived loss of physical abilities using the Conservation of Resources-Evaluation and SF-36 Health Survey, global meaning making (Purpose in Life scale), and psychological well-being (Sense of Well-Being Inventory). Medical injury severity was calculated from medical records. Results: Medical injury severity was not related to psychological well-being, whereas perceived loss of physical functioning was inversely associated. Global meaning making was significantly related to and accounted for a large portion of the variance in psychological well-being. Results suggest that global meaning making partially mediates perceived loss of physical resources and psychological well-being. Conclusion: The perceived loss of physical abilities and the generation of meaning and purpose in life are important variables that relate to positive adaptation following spinal cord injury. Treatment implications related to factors that increase quality of life following spinal cord injury are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-314
Number of pages9
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • conservation of resources
  • meaning making
  • psychological well-being
  • spinal cord injury
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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