Factors which facilitate or impede interpersonal interactions and relationships after spinal cord injury: a scoping review with suggestions for rehabilitation
Interpersonal interactions and relationships can influence an individual’s perceptions of health and quality of life in the presence of disability. In the case of people with spinal cord injury (SCI), positive interpersonal interactions and relationships have been shown to contribute to resilience and adaptability. Understanding factors which facilitate or impede the development and maintenance of relationships after SCI may form the basis for proactive relationship support for people with SCI. To gain a broad insight into these factors, a scoping review was undertaken. Databases were searched for English language studies published between 2000 and 2015 that informed the review question. Sixty-two (62) studies were identified. Thematic analysis was conducted on data extracted from the studies and 51 factors which may facilitate relationships and 38 factors which may impede relationships after SCI were noted. The majority of factors could be categorized as environmental or personal according to the domains of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF). The facilitating factors included partner and social support, reciprocity in relationships, and presenting oneself positively. Impeding factors included physical environmental barriers, real and perceived social biases, and poor self-image. Factors identified may inform the provision of supportive, holistic rehabilitation for people with SCI.