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Social support and functioning in a patient with spinal cord injury: The role of social skills


Müller, Rachel; Rauch, Alexandra; Cieza, Alarcos [u. a.]


European Federation for Research in Rehabilitation


International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 2013, Volume 36 (Number 3), Seite 236-245, London: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, ISSN: 0342-5282 (Print); 1473-5660 (Online)




This study reports on a patient with spinal cord injury (SCI) in whom the interaction between social skills and social support seems to influence functioning. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) was used as a reference framework. Qualitative (id est observation, structured, and open interviews with the patient and health professionals) and quantitative data (id est spinal cord independence measure, medical records) were collected.

Content analysis of the interviews was carried out to identify aspects of social skills and social support. An ICF-based documentation tool (id est ICF Assessment Sheet) was used to structure information about the level of functioning of body functions and structures, activity and participation, and environmental and personal factors of a 57-year-old man with incomplete paraplegia during first rehabilitation.

The patient presented a variety of effective social skills (id est assertiveness, goal direction). However, the adaptation of skills, such as asking for help social problem-solving, sensitivity, and expressivity in social relations, became necessary to acquire. The patient received different types of social support (id est emotional, informational, and instrumental) from different sources (for example family and friends). The qualitative interviews provided indications for an interaction between social skills and social support.

The impact of social skills and social support on functioning is discussed. Social skills can mobilize social support and enhance functioning. However, better understanding of social skills, social support, and their interaction in relation to functioning in SCI is required to develop targeted and effective interventions to strengthen psychosocial resources for the enhancement of functioning in patients with SCI.

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International Journal of Rehabilitation Research

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Informationsstand: 07.04.2014

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