The relationship between social support and alcohol abuse in people with spinal cord injuries

Miriam A. Boraz*, Allen W. Heinemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Social support is important in adaptation following traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). One indicator of postinjury adaptation is drinking patterns. This study sought to describe the extent to which persons with SCI perceive support from family and friends during and after rehabilitation, changes in support during the first 18 months after injury, and the extent to which social support relates to heavy drinking 1 year after injury. Fifty- three patients completed Procidano and Heller's Perceived Social Support Scale. We assessed problematic drinking with the Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST), and we characterized drinking patterns as abstinent, light, moderate, and heavy from self-reports. Perceived family support was consistently higher than perceived friend support. In addition, perceived friend support decreased over time. There was a trend that suggested the association between problem drinking preinjury and lower levels of social support postinjury. These findings highlight how adaptation occurs after injury and the role of families in post-SCI adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Rehabilitation and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1996


  • alcohol abuse
  • social support
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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