Subjective Evaluation of Life Satisfaction by community-dwelling Spinal Cord Injury Patients Managed at the University College Hospital, Ibadan
Background: Life satisfaction in Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) population is influenced by the ability to perform social roles and engage in activities. Investigations on the psychosocial aspects of SCI in Nigeria have concentrated on the objective dimensions, while much has not been documented, qualitatively, on life satisfaction among the SCI survivors in our setting. The research focused on the subjective evaluation of well-being related to social role performance among community-dwelling adults with SCI managed at the University College Hospital Ibadan, Nigeria.
Methods: The study design is descriptive and qualitative data collection was utilized. Seventeen SCI patients who had been discharged home were purposively selected and interviewed via telephone. The domains of life evaluated included sexual life, marital life, and general life satisfaction. These were assessed with an interview guide intended for this purpose. Data were thematically content analysed.
Results: Some participants could return to employment and perform occupational roles. The participants described their life as dissatisfactory. Dissatisfaction was reported with sexual and marital life and social interaction after SCI. Family role performance was likewise dissatisfactory. The participants’ dissatisfaction with life post-SCI was largely influenced by their internalization and interpretation of the inability to function in areas of life they perceived important.
Conclusion: The subjective evaluation of life reported by persons living with permanent SCI suggests that they require more support from their families, healthcare providers and the community at large. Additionally, their psychosocial needs deserve constant monitoring by the significant others and healthcare providers in order to provide timely countermeasures.
Keywords: Life Satisfaction; Social Role; Spinal Cord Injury; Subjective Evaluation; Nigeria