Objective. Negative mood is prevalent in people with a neurological injury such as spinal cord injury (SCI). However, research is needed for determining those people with SCI who are vulnerable to negative mood states, as well as establishing the influence of self-efficacy, that is, expectations of their control over their lives. The objective of this research was to investigate the protective role that self-efficacy may play in adult people with SCI compared to able-bodied controls. Methods. Participants included 41 adults with SCI living in the community and 41 able-bodied controls similar in age, sex ratio, and education. All participants completed a psychological assessment regimen in a relaxed environment. Measures consisted of validated measures of self-efficacy and negative mood states. Results. The SCI group was found to have significantly elevated levels of depressive mood, anxiety, stress, and poor self-efficacy. SCI participants with low levels of self-efficacy were shown to have significantly elevated levels of depressive mood and anxiety in comparison to those SCI participants with high levels of self-efficacy and able-bodied controls. Conclusions. People with a neurological injury such as SCI are vulnerable to experiencing clinically elevated negative mood states if they have poor expectations of control over their lives. Implications for SCI rehabilitation are discussed.