Reciprocal association between pain and quality of life after newly acquired spinal cord injury.

Westphal, Maren; Carrard, Valerie; Braunwalder, Céline; Debnar, Caroline; Post, Marcel; Fekete, Christine; Galvis, Mayra; Scheel-Sailer, Anke (2024). Reciprocal association between pain and quality of life after newly acquired spinal cord injury. Quality of life research, 33(5), pp. 1347-1357. Springer 10.1007/s11136-024-03615-1

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Pain is highly prevalent in spinal cord injury (SCI) and a key determinant of quality of life (QoL). This is the first study to examine reciprocal associations between pain and QoL in patients undergoing their first inpatient rehabilitation after SCI.


Longitudinal data, with three measurement time points (1 month and 3 months after SCI onset, and at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation) from the Inception Cohort of the Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Cohort Study. Participants were 381 individuals aged ≥ 16 years with a newly diagnosed traumatic or non-traumatic SCI. 75.1% were male and the average age was 53.2 years. Random intercept cross-lagged panel models were conducted to examine the reciprocal association between pain intensity and QoL, as measured with the International SCI QoL Basic Data Set three individual items (satisfaction with life, physical health, and psychological health) and total score (mean of the three individual items).


Both item and total QoL scores increased over time. 1 month: 5.3 (SD = 2.7), 3 months: 5.9 (SD = 2.3), discharge: 6.6 (SD = 2.0). Participants reported relatively low levels of pain intensity that remained stable over the course of inpatient rehabilitation. 1 month: 2.7 (SD = 2.3), 3 months: 2.6 (SD = 2.4), discharge: 2.7 (SD = 2.5). There were no significant cross-lagged associations between QoL and pain intensity across time.


Results indicate that pain intensity does not predict changes in QoL during first rehabilitation, and vice versa. Associations between pain intensity and QoL reported by previous studies may be attributable to individual characteristics and timely events that simultaneously influence pain and QoL.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Anthroposophically Extended Medicine (AeM)

UniBE Contributor:

Braunwalder, Céline


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








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Date Deposited:

20 Mar 2024 11:44

Last Modified:

26 Apr 2024 00:15

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Cross-lagged panel analysis Pain Quality of life Rehabilitation Spinal cord injury




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