Psychosocial Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women with Spinal Cord Injury

Heather B. Taylor, Rosemary B. Hughes, Diana Gonzalez, Muna Bhattarai, Susan Robinson-Whelen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study represents the first known research addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women with spinal cord injury (SCI) in the United States. Women in this population face unique barriers that put them at elevated risk for compromised quality of life, risk that was magnified by physical and social restrictions imposed during the pandemic. This qualitative study examined the perceptions of women with SCI and the effect of the pandemic on their lives. The predominantly White and relatively well-educated sample of 105 women with traumatic SCI was diverse in age, injury characteristics, and geographic representation. Recruited across the USA, participants in an online psychological health intervention trial were asked to respond to the item, “Please tell us how COVID-19 has affected you and your life”, administered May–October, 2020. An overall sentiment rating of impact was coded as well as the impact of COVID-19 on eight individual themes: Physical Health, Mental Health, Social Health, Activities of Daily Living, Exercise, Work, Activities Outside the Home, and Activities at Home. Sentiment responses were rated as positive, negative, a mixture of positive and negative impacts, or neutral impact. Participants described the overall impact of COVID-19 as negative (54%), positive (10%), mixed (21%) or neutral (15%). Sentiment ratings to individual themes were also described. Our findings highlight the importance of providing access to disability-sensitive and affordable support, resources, and interventions for women with SCI, especially during a public health crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6387
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 18 2023


  • COVID-19
  • impacts
  • mental health
  • pandemic
  • spinal cord injury
  • women
  • Pandemics
  • Humans
  • Spinal Cord Injuries/epidemiology
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • United States/epidemiology
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Female


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