BACKGROUND : The development of secondary health conditions (SHCs) after spinal cord
injury (SCI) is common and can affect an individual’s emotional well-being, and his or her
health-related quality of life (QOL). Little is known about relationships between performing
health-benefiting behaviours and the presence (or absence) of SHCs and QOL, particularly
in South Africa.
OBJECTIVES : This research study was conducted in order to determine the associations between
health behaviour, SHCs and QOL in people with SCI (PWSCI).
Method : This cross-sectional study included 36 PWSCI discharged from a private rehabilitation
facility in Pretoria, South Africa. The PWSCI completed questionnaires pertaining to lifestyle,
independence, presence of SHCs, social support and QOL. Data were analysed using
descriptive and inferential statistics such as correlation tests and chi-square test of
independence (x2) using the SPSS v25. Moderate, moderately high and high correlations are
reported (Pearson r ≥ 0.4). Results were significant if p < 0.05.
RESULTS : Participation in health-benefiting behaviour was associated with increased QOL
(r = 0.457, p < 0.01) and increased social support from family and friends (r = 0.425, p < 0.01),
which was associated with increased QOL (r = 0.671, p < 0.001). Not participating in specific
neuromusculoskeletal health behaviours was found to be associated with the overall presence
of SHCs (r = -0.426, p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS : Participating in health-benefiting behaviour can reduce the development of
SHCs and subsequently increase QOL in PWSCI. Health professionals must focus on
minimising the development of SHCs by providing specific education on good healthbenefiting
The research in this article was based on phase II of a
dissertation submitted in 2016, in fulfilment of the
requirements for the degree of Master of Science in
Physiotherapy. The dissertation was submitted in the Faculty of Health Sciences, in the Department of Physiotherapy at
the University of Pretoria, South Africa.