Older man with arm around woman

What is the study about?

This study examines whether there is a link between spiritual well-being, demographic characteristics, quality of life and depressive symptoms following spinal cord injury (SCI). Specifically, this study looks at to what extent spiritual well-being has on quality life and depressed mood, and if meaning-focused spirituality has a stronger impact than faith-focused (religious) spirituality.

What did the study find?

This study found that spirituality is strongly associated with quality of life and the presence of depression, with meaning-focused spirituality having the largest impact. These findings are consistent with other studies that explored similar links between spiritual well-being, quality of life, and depression. Though other studies found significant associations between demographic characteristics (i.e., age, education, gender, etc.) and quality of life, this study found no such links. However, this study did find links between demographic characteristics, meaning-focused spirituality, and depression.

Who participated in the study?

Individuals with SCI (n=210) who were screened for depression as part of a randomized control trial.

How was the study conducted?

Four different assessments were used to conduct the study. The Patient Health Questionniare-9 was used to measure depression; the FACIT-Sp assessed spiritual well-being; the Neuro-QOL PAWB scale assessed quality of life, and the PANAS assessed affect. Predictors for the study’s model were selected based on the review of the literature.

How can people use the results?

Clinicians, people with SCI, and caretakers alike can use the results of this study to become more informed on how spirituality can improve quality of life and lower depression following a SCI injury. Having a sense of meaning and purpose appears to be of great importance in the adjustment to SCI.


Wilson, C. S., Forchheimer, M., Heinemann, A. W., Warren, A. M., & Mccullumsmith, C. (2016). Assessment of the relationship of spiritual well-being to depression and quality of life for persons with spinal cord injury. Disability and Rehabilitation, 39(5), 491-496. doi:10.3109/09638288.2016.1152600

Link to Abstract


The contents of this quick review were developed under a grant (number H133A110004) from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.