Study design: Prospective cohort controlled trial design.
Objectives: (i) To investigate mood benefits of adding group cognitive behaviour therapy (group-CBT) to standard spinal cord injury (SCI) inpatient rehabilitation (SR) that included access to antidepressant medication and individually delivered CBT on demand. (ii) To determine whether those with elevated depressive mood during inpatient rehabilitation significantly improve.
Setting: SCI rehabilitation and community settings in New South Wales, Australia.
Methods: Participants included 50 adults with SCI who completed SCI rehabilitation that included group-CBT compared with 38 participants who also completed SCI rehabilitation that did not contain group-CBT. Comprehensive assessment occurred after admission, within 2 weeks of discharge and 12 months post-injury. Multivariate repeated measures analyses were conducted to examine differences between groups and over time.
Results: The addition of group-CBT to SR did not result in significant improvement in mood. However, participants with clinically elevated depressive mood assessed during inpatient rehabilitation experienced significant reductions in depressive mood when assessed in the community regardless of CBT dosage. Anxiety correlated with mood while no sociodemographic/injury factors correlated with mood at any time period except education level.
Conclusion: There were no mood advantages over time of adding group-CBT to inpatient SCI rehabilitation that contains individually delivered CBT on demand and access to antidepressant medication. However, findings showed those with elevated depressive mood during inpatient rehabilitation significantly improved when assessed in the community; however, their levels of depressive mood remain high. Future research should investigate the efficacy of providing individual preferences for managing depression in people with SCI.