To What Extent Do Neighborhood Differences Mediate Racial Disparities in Participation After Spinal Cord Injury?

Amanda L. Botticello*, Mike Boninger, Susan Charlifue, Yuying Chen, Denise Fyffe, Allen Heinemann, Jeanne M. Hoffman, Alan Jette, Claire Kalpakjian, Tanya Rohrbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the role of residential neighborhood characteristics in accounting for race disparities in participation among a large sample of community-living adults with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional survey data from the national Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) database linked with national survey and spatial data. Setting: SCIMS database participants enrolled at 10 collaborating centers active in follow-up between 2000 and 2014. Participants: The sample consisted of persons with SCI (N=6892) in 5441 Census tracts from 50 states and the District of Columbia. Intervention: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measure: The Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique was used to measure full participation across 4 domains: physical independence, mobility, occupation, and social integration. Results: Racial minority groups had lower odds of reporting full participation relative to whites across all domains, suggesting that blacks and Hispanics are at risk for poorer community reintegration after SCI. Neighborhood characteristics, notably differences in socioeconomic advantage, reduced race group differences in the odds of full occupational and social integration, suggesting that the race disparities in community reintegration after SCI are partially attributable to variation in the economic characteristics of the places where people live. Conclusions: This investigation suggests that addressing disadvantage at the neighborhood level may modify gaps in community participation after medical rehabilitation and provides further support for the role of the environment in the experience of disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1735-1744
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016


  • Environment
  • Health status disparities
  • Minority health
  • Rehabilitation
  • Residence characteristics
  • Spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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