Psychological Effects On Youth With SCI & Their Caregivers.

By Karen Koehler

It is humbling to watch the total devotion many parents demonstrate towards their children with SCI.  A family of two wage earners may give up one paying job so that one parent can instead provide around the clock caregiving.  A family may reorganize itself to make sure that the injured child remains within the center of the support unit. 

A recent study examined 203 youth with SCI.  Their average age was 12.7 years.  70 percent had paraplegia. 78 percent of caregivers were mothers, 14 percent fathers and eight percent other family members. In all, 16 and 21 percent caregivers scored in the range of moderate tosevere anxiety and depression, respectively. Being female and having a child with mental health problems predicted caregiver anxiety and depression. In addition, having a child who was older at the time of injury predicted caregiver depression. Poor social relationships, having a caregiver with mental health problems and having a caregiver with less education predicted both child anxiety and depression.

The researchers concluded that caregiver sex, child age at injury and child mental health were related to caregiver outcomes; caregiver education, marital status and child age were not. Caregiver mental health and education and child social relationships predicted child outcomes. Neither injury level nor injury severity was related to caregiver or child outcomes.

This article was excerpted in part from E H Kelly, C J Anderson, S I Garma, H F Russell, S J Klaas, J A Gorzkowski and L C Vogel. “Relationships between the psychological characteristics of youth with spinal cord injury and their primary caregivers.”  Spinal Cord, (6 July 2010).

One Response to Psychological Effects On Youth With SCI & Their Caregivers.

  • stinnettelaw says:

    It is humbling to see the psychological after-affects of accidents which involve spinal cord injury, on the victim and the family. Such people need strong legal representation and need assistance of personal injury attorneys.
    Law Andy

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About Karen
Karen Koehler, partner at the nationally recognized law firm of SKW, blogs about all things related to spinal cord injuries...More
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Favorite Quotation
On Another's Sorrow
Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief.

Can I see a falling tear.
And not feel my sorrows share,
Can a father see his child,
Weep, nor be with sorrow fill'd.

Can a mother sit and hear.
An infant groan an infant fear?
No no never can it be,
Never never can it be

And can he who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small
Hear the small bird's grief & care
Hear the woes that infants bear

And not sit beside the nest
Pouring pity in their breast.
And not sit the cradle near
Weeping tear on infant's tear.

And not sit both night & day.
Wiping all our tears away.
O! no never can it be.
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.


— William Blake