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Therapeutic Recreation Outcomes during Inpatient SCI Rehabilitation: Propensity Score Analysis of SCIRehab Data

Julie Gassaway, Mark Sweatman, Cecilia Rider, Kelly Edens, Madalyn Weber


SCIRehab public use datasets were used to compare outcomes based on time spent in therapeutic recreation (TR) during inpatient rehabilitation for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) (n = 1376). The treatment group consisted of SCIRehab participants who received significant (>20 hours) inpatient TR, n = 476. Propensity score 1-to-1 matching constructed the control group (n = 476) from the remaining SCIRehab participants. Independent means tests were used to identify significant differences in characteristics and outcomes between groups at one and five years post injury; matched pairs means tests compared differences within groups.

At one and five years post injury, the treatment group had significantly higher rates of employment/ school, community participation (CHART scores), life satisfaction (satisfaction with life scale score), and greater recreation participation. At one year post injury, the treatment group exhibited more residing at home, less depression (PHQ-9), and less rehospitalization; these differences were neutralized by five years post injury. Both groups saw improvement in most outcomes from one to five years post injury; however, percentage of patients or item scores for treatment group were consistently higher.

More time spent in TR during inpatient rehabilitation is associated strongly with improved community participation, health and function, and recreational participation post injury for persons with SCI.

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Propensity scores; rehabilitation spinal cord injury; therapeutic recreation

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