M Kreuter1,2,3, A Siösteen4, B Erkholm5, U Byström1 and D J Brown6 1Institute of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Sweden 2Health Care Research Unit, Institute of Internal Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Sweden 3The Vardal Institute, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Sweden 4Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Sweden 5Department of Physiotherapy, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Sweden 6Victorian Spinal Cord Service, Austin Health, Victoria, Australia Correspondence to: M Kreuter, The Vardal Institute, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Box 455, SE 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden Abstract
Study design: Cross-sectional questionnaire study.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to demonstrate the value of common general health-related quality of life (HRQL) instruments, readily available for cross-cultural comparisons, in persons with spinal cord lesion (SCL) treated at spinal units in Melbourne, Australia and in Gothenburg, Sweden. Another aim was to determine as to which of the independent variables were the most powerful predictors of global QL in the two SCL groups.
Settings: Australia and Sweden.
Methods: Two groups consisting of 89 Australian and 71 Swedish SCL persons were surveyed. The two groups were matched according to sex, age, time since injury and level of injury. The 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36) and the Spinal Cord Injuries Quality of Life-23-item questionnaire were used to cover essential generic and specific domains of health and quality of life. Clinical and sociodemographic data were collected using questionnaires. For interpretation purpose, available general population data were used.
Results: The most important predictors of QL perception in the Australian group were the same as for the Swedish group; mood, physical and social functioning and problems regarding injury. In total, 61% (Australian group) and 52% (Swedish group) of the variance was explained by these variables. Despite similarities of health profiles, some areas of the SF-36 differed between the two groups.
Conclusion: The demonstrated HRQL profiles in SCL persons have shown that valid measures can provide new information of clinical value beyond the self-evident physical and practical restrictions due to injury. Illustrative comparisons, such as those presented here between Australia and Sweden, may extend our knowledge about areas where the SCL persons themselves are the logical experts, for example, maintenance of personal roles, social interaction and emotional well-being.
Sponsorship: The Foundation of Rehabilitation Research (FRF), the Association of Cancer and Traffic Accident Victims (CTRF), and the Norrbacka-Eugenia Foundation, Sweden.
Spinal Cord (2005) 43, 123-129. doi:10.1038/sj.sc.3101692;