Depression and depression treatment in women with spinal cord injury

Susan Robinson-Whelen, Heather Taylor, Rosemary Hughes, Lisa Wenzel, Margaret Nosek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Research has documented high rates of depression in people with spinal cord injury (SCI); however, most SCI research is conducted with predominantly male study participants. Additional research is needed on depression and depression treatment among women with SCI. Objective: Study objectives were to examine depression, correlates of depression, and depression treatment in a sample of women with SCI. Methods: The sample included 51 ethnically and racially diverse women with SCI who participated in a larger study on secondary conditions of women with diverse physical disabilities. Recruited through health clinics and community organizations in a large metropolitan area, participants completed structured interviews that included demographic and disability characteristics and measures of health and health care utilization. Results: Scores on the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) indicated that 41% of the women had depressive symptomatology in the mild to severe range. BDI-II scores were significantly related to more severe secondary conditions, greater pain, and poorer health perceptions but not to demographic or disability variables. Nearly a third (n = 16) of the women had scores exceeding the standard cutoff for significant clinical depressive symptomatology, yet only 5 of those had received any treatment for depression in the past 3 months and only 1 had received counseling or psychotherapy. Lifelong depression treatment showed a similar pattern of predominantly pharmacologic treatment. Conclusion: Depression is a common problem for women with SCI, and many do not receive treatment, particularly psychological treatment. Disability-sensitive and affordable depression treatment must be made available to women with SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalTopics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • depression
  • depression treatment
  • spinal cord injury
  • women


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