Content » Vol 48, Issue 2

Original report

From the person’s perspective: Perceived problems in functioning among individuals with spinal cord injury in Switzerland

Sara Rubinelli, Andrea Glässel, Mirjam Brach
Swiss Paraplegic Research, Nottwil, Switzerland. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2060


Objective: To report the main problems in functioning cited by people with spinal cord injury in Switzerland.
Study design: Post-coding analysis was conducted based on the open-ended question, “What causes you the most problems since your spinal cord injury?” from the Starter Module of the community survey of the Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Cohort Study, administered between September 2011 and March 2013.
Study participants: Out of 3,144 eligible subjects, 1,762 answered the open-ended question and cited problems.
Methods: Thematic analysis was used, based on the coding system from the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health.
Results: The study identified the 10 problems cited most by the participants, and the 5 most-cited problems mentioned by participants from each of the relevant subgroups subdivided by factors including gender and aetiology. Problems linked to complications in body functions (e. g. pain), activities and participation (e. g. leisure) and environment (e. g. design of public buildings) were reported as important.
Conclusion: This study contributes to priority setting in spinal cord injury by accounting for the person perspective within a large-scale quantitative survey. The results support the value of a comprehensive approach to spinal cord injury.

Lay Abstract


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