The impact of spinal cord injuries on intimate relationships
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This research investigated the impact that spinal cord injuries have upon intimate relationships, and the effect that being in an intimate relationship has upon a person with a spinal cord injury. 25 participants, who had been disabled at least two years, were interviewed in their own homes. 17 participants were in relationships when they were injured, and 16 were in relationships when they were interviewed. Seven of these pre-injury relationships ended within one year post-injury, and the six remaining relationships were still in place at the time of the interviews. Results showed that people with lower levels of impairment were more likely to be depressed, as were those who received assistance with activities of daily living from their partners. Results are discussed using evolutionary, equity, and social support theories, as well as the interpersonal exchange model of sexual satisfaction. Relationship counselling is recommended for couples after one partner has a spinal cord injury.