Health Profile

What is the study about?

This study describes the demographic and health profile of people living with Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury (TSCI) in order to help evlauate health care needs of this population.

What did the study find?

Even though the percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree was similar in the TSCI population compared to the general US population, the employment rate was lower in the TSCI population. Regarding the health profiles of the TSCI population, health conditions declined with advanced age. Specifically, this decline impacted self-perceived health, diabetes, and institutional residence. However, people who survived TSCI for years had relatively high degrees of independence and social participation. The findings suggest there is greater need for primary care providers and geriatricians in the continuity of care for TSCI to promote healthy aging.

Who participated in the study?

Individuals who experienced a TSCI between 1972 and 2019, were initially treated at one of the SCIMS centers, and were alive from 2015 to 2019 (N=20,437).

How was the study conducted?

This study was a cross-sectional descriptive study that looked at demographic information (e.g., age, sex, race/ethnicity), injury severity, employment status, health conditions among others. This information was used to compare the present sample to previous estimates from 2008 as well as the general population statistics in 2017.

How can people use the results?

Individuals with TSCI and their families can use the results of this study to learn how there is a greater need for involvement of primary care providers and geriatricians in the continuity of care for TSCI to promote healthy aging. There is also a need to improve employment outcomes to promote social participation and quality of life.


Chen, Y., Wen, H., Baidwan, N. K., & DeVivo, M. J. (2022). Demographic and Health Profiles of People Living With Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury in the United States During 2015-2019: Findings from the Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems Database. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 103(4), 622–633.


The contents of this quick review were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DPKT0009). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this quick review do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.