Examining quality of life in persons with spinal cord injuries using Kumpfer’s resilience model


Tansey, T. N., Bezyak, J., Kaya, C., Ditchman, N., & Catalano, D. (2017). Resilience and quality of life: An investigation of Kumpfer’s resilience model with persons with spinal cord injuries. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 60, 163-174.


This study explores the factors that affect quality of life in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) via an empirical application of Kumpfer’s resilience model. It involved 255 participants with SCI who were recruited via mailings to the members of the Canadian Paraplegic Association. Participants completed a variety of self-report measures assessing components of Kumpfer’s resilience model, demographic information, and perceived quality of life. These measures were then entered into a hierarchical multiple regression predicting quality of life. The measures were entered as predictors in four steps: 1) injury severity indicators (coexisting pain, types of injury, and driving ability), 2) functional self-efficacy (interpersonal, instrumental, and participation self-efficacy), 3) internal/individual self-resiliency factors (core self-evaluation, resiliency characteristics, cognitive ability, and general health), and 4) social support. The overall model explained 75% of the variance in quality of life. In the final model, core self-evaluation, resiliency characteristics, cognitive ability, general health, participation self-efficacy, and social support all significantly predicted better quality of life. In contrast, higher levels of co-existing pain were significantly negatively associated quality of life. These results suggest both that Kumpfer’s resilience model provides a good explanation of quality of life in individuals with SCI and that injury-related characteristics have relatively little impact on perceived quality of life when individual resiliency factors, health, self-efficacy, and social support is taken into account.

I chose this article because it provides an empirical investigation of a theoretical model in a rehabilitation population and because quality of life is such a key outcome in rehabilitation. I also believe that it provides a good reminder that injury severity alone does not determine psychological outcomes in people with SCI.

THIS MONTH’S REHABILITATION SCIENCE SPOTLIGHT was provided by Emily M. Lund, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University; Member of the Division 22 Science Committee.