Psychology treatment time during inpatient spinal cord injury rehabilitation

Toby Huston, Julie Gassaway*, Catherine Wilson, Samuel Gordons, Jill Koval, Andrea Schwebe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Rehabilitation psychologists are integral members of spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation teams. Objective: To describe specific information regarding types and intensity of treatments delivered by rehabilitation psychologists to patients with various levels of SCI. Methods: Utilizing a taxonomy of psychological interventions as a framework, rehabilitation psychologists documented time spent on specific psychology interventions for each interaction they had with 600 patients with traumatic SCI at 6 inpatient SCI rehabilitation centers. Associations of patient and injury characteristics with time spent on various psychological interventions were examined using ordinary least squares stepwise regression models. Results: Psychologists focus the majority of the time they spend with patients with SCI on psychotherapeutic interventions of processing emotions, emotional adjustment, and family coping, while educational efforts focus mostly on coping and adjusting to the new injury. There was wide variation in the amount of time spent on psychotherapeutic and psychoeducational interventions; patient, injury, and clinician characteristics explained little of the variation in time spent. Conclusions: Variations observed in psychological treatment delivery mirror real-world human complexity and clinical experience; they are not explained well by patient and injury characteristics and set the stage for future analyses to associate treatments with outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-204
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Health services research
  • Paraplegia
  • Psychology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Tetraplegia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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