An examination of depression through the lens of spinal cord injury

Short Title:
Model System:
Reference Type:
Journal Article
Accession No.:
Womens Health Issues
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):
2006, vol. 16, issue , pp 380-388
Publication Website:
Purpose. This study describes the prevalence of probable major depressive disorder (MDD) as well as other depressive disorders (ODD) and severity of depressive symptoms in a national sample of women with spinal cord injury (SCI) and compares them with a case-matched sample of men with SCI. Methods. A sample of 585 women was drawn and case-matched with men from the SCI Model System National SCI Database according to level/completeness of injury, follow-up year, and age. The outcome measure of depression was the Patient Health Questionnaire. Main Findings. Prevalence rates for women were 7.9% for probable MDD and 9.7% for ODD; rates for men were 9.9% and 10.3%, respectively. Logistic regression revealed that women who were divorced or at year 1 follow-up had a higher odds of having probable MDD (odds ratio [OR], 3.4 and 2.9, respectively). Employed women and men had significantly lower odds of probable MDD (OR, 0.274 and 0.358, respectively). Statistically significant differences were not found in gender comparisons for either probable MDD or symptom severity, which also were not associated with injury characteristics. Conclusion. The most significant, and unexpected, research finding is the absence of gender differences in probable MDD and symptom severity. Results challenge notions that depression will necessarily follow SCI; that injury characteristics determine the development and severity of depression; and that women experience a greater burden of depression than men. The main clinical implication is that depression screening and referral should be a routine feature of health care for women living with SCI, as well as for their male counterparts. Furthermore, nearly one fourth of women and men reported experiencing some or greater difficulty in daily life and relationships in the absence of probable depressive disorder, warranting monitoring of subsyndromal depression as well.
Kalpakjian, C.; Albright K.
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