Management of health after Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is complicated. It is not enough for adults aging with SCI to follow the instructions provided upon discharge to inpatient rehabilitation or annual follow-ups, rather they must adopt and integrate a decision making paradigm and adapt actions based on the current status of any number of factors as the body’s health, capacity and functioning, as well as factors within the environment, change over time.
Health management for individuals with SCI seems to depend on an individual’s ability to engage in novel, complex and purposeful behavior. However, there is a significant gap in research which connects executive functioning, self-management behaviors and health and participation outcomes for adults with SCI. We feel that this may contribute to the failure of healthcare providers to modify their expectations of individuals with SCI with regard to health management practices, to tailor their approaches to accommodate individuals with executive dysfunction and to provide evidence based interventions to improve outcomes.
This study is designed to fill this research gap by specifically examining the relationship between executive functioning, self-management behaviors, and health outcomes among individuals with SCI while exploring factors that moderate this relationship.
The objective of this project is to association between executive functioning (and its various components) and health self-management behaviors of adults with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Individual assessments will be conducted virtually with 75 adults with traumatic SCI to measure cognitive ability, including executive functioning, and gather self-report data related to health management behaviors and health, participation and quality of life outcomes. We will then analyze the data to determine relationships between the variables of interest. This information will be used to support future research in the area as well as to design or modify interventions to enhance self-management skills and optimize health outcomes for individuals with traumatic SCI.