Returning to the Community with a Spinal Cord Injury: Implications for Therapeutic Recreation Specialists


  • John Dattilo
  • Linda Caldwell
  • Youngkhill Lee
  • Douglas A. Kleiber


Spinal Cord Injury, Therapeutic Recreation, Integration, Social Support, Leisure Education


This study examined the relevance of leisure and social relationships to the community integration of people with recent spinal cord injury (SCI). The primary data source was in-depth interviews with participants one to eight months after being discharged from a rehabilitation center. The constant comparative method of data analysis (Strauss, 1987) was employed. When discussing their leisure participation within the community, participants communicated enjoyment associated with "getting out" and being with friends and family members. In addition, participants described constraints to leisure participation within their communities related to support, companionship, transportation, physical ability, and physical accessibility. Although many participants indicated that the therapeutic recreation (TR) program they attended during the course of rehabilitation assisted them in returning to their communities; they identified problems associated with TR and the entire process of rehabilitation experienced at the center. The importance of social contacts in facilitating community integration and the value of leisure as a context for the establishment of such contacts were documented in the findings.





Research Papers