Content » Vol 48, Issue 1

Original report

Multidimensional fatigue during rehabilitation in persons with recently acquired spinal cord injury

Tijn van Diemen, Wim van Lankveld, Christel van Leeuwen, Marcel Post, Ilse van Nes
Department of Rehabilitation, Sint Maartenskliniek, Post box 9011, NL-6500 GM Nijmegen, The Netherlands. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2018


Objectives: To examine the change in multidimensional fatigue in people with spinal cord injury during post-acute rehabilitation, and to compare these scores with those of healthy adults. Furthermore, to examine correlations between different dimensions of fatigue at discharge and demographics, injury-related variables and indices of psychological adjustment.
Design: Longitudinal cohort study.
Subjects: From 86 patients admitted for spinal cord injury rehabilitation, between June 2011 and January 2013, 78 met the inclusion criteria, and 70 (90%) agreed to participate.
Methods: Self-reported questionnaires were completed at admission and in the week before discharge. Questionnaires used assessed demographics, injury-related variables, multidimensional fatigue, and psychological adjustment.
Results: At admission, fatigue scores were very high and decreased significantly during rehabilitation. At discharge, fatigue scores were still significantly higher than those of healthy adults. The fatigue total score at discharge was weakly associated with demographic variables and injury-related variables. Psychological adjustment variables explained the largest proportion of variance of the fatigue total score and each of the subscales.
Conclusion: Fatigue is an important consequence in people with recently acquired spinal cord injury. Associations between fatigue and psychological adjustment suggest that psychological interventions might be useful to diminish fatigue.

Lay Abstract


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