A comparison of the adaptation and quality of life of individuals with spinal cord injuries from Kuwait and the United States: A cross cultural perspective
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC, 2006), SCI is a nationwide issue and its annual incidence worldwide has been reported to be between 11.5 and 57.8 cases per million population. In the United States, the estimated incidence rate of new SCI cases is quite large at approximately 11,000 per year (NSCISC, 2006). Such a traumatic injury can result in significant and permanent life changes for the injured individual including his/her physical, psychological, and social aspects. Due to the devastating consequences of SCI, QOL becomes the outcome of greatest concern among health care professionals. In turn, quality of life (QOL) is considered one of the major outcomes in occupational therapy and spinal cord injury (SCI) survivors are one of the most common groups that occupational therapists treat. The purpose of this line of research was to investigate the role of adaptation in QOL research among SCI survivors. This line of research also compared the factors that influence the QOL of SCI survivors cross-culturally.
The first study was a quantitative study aimed at comparing the HRQOL of adult Kuwaitis with that of normative data for the American general population as well as with the HRQOL of Americans with SCI. The second and third studies employed mixed methods designs. This dissertation concluded that recovery from a SCI depends on the dynamic relationship between person, environment, occupation, adaptation, and QOL. These three studies were prepared and submitted to peer reviewed journals.
One outcome of this dissertation was to contribute to the knowledge base of occupational therapy about the recovery experience of SCI survivors. It seems most important for therapists to understand the adaptation process of SCI survivors and the factors that influence their QOL cross-culturally. This dissertation also investigated actors that influence the QOL of SCI survivors' living in Kuwait and the U.S. Results from these three studies could be utilized in occupational therapy education, practice, and research. Recommendations are offered to further explore the findings of this study.