Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Patricia Ann Roth, EdD, RN, Chairperson; Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN; Cynthia D. Connelly, PhD, RN, CNA-BC, FAAN


Depression, existential well-being, nursing, Paraplegia, quality of life, religious well-being, Spinal cord injury, spiritual well-being


With the advent of better emergency response and medical advances, the life expectancy of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) is about 85% to 90% compared to that of non-disabled persons. Since SCI survivors are living well into their 70s, quality of life (QOL) is a major concern. The purpose of this study, informed by Ferrell and Grant's Quality of Life Model, was to examine relationships between spiritual well-being (SWB), existential well-being (EWB), religious spiritual well-being (RWB), depression, length of injury, age, gender, ethnicity, and QOL while living with paraplegia one year and longer. A descriptive, correlational, cross-sectional design, with convenience sampling of 75 participants was implemented. Instruments used to measure the influence of variables included Ellison's Spiritual Well-Being Scale, The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and a Quality of Life scale measuring subjective quality of life directly through a visual analog. Findings included relatively high SWB scores, with existential well-being (EWB) having a strong relationship with QOL (r = .63, p = .01). Other significant relationships included SWB Total and QOL (r = .47, p = .01) and inversely between depression and QOL (r = -.59, p = .01). Regression analysis indicated that the variables of existential well-being, spiritual well-being total, and depression were the primary predictors of quality of life. In conclusion, participants who had a strong sense of purpose and meaning in life, whether or not religious, were more likely to have a higher subjective QOL. Implications of this study for future research include conducting a qualitative study addressing the questions: What does spiritual well-being mean to the person with paraplegia, and what contributes to the person's subjective quality of life?

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons