Social Skills: A Resource for More Social Support, Lower Depression Levels, Higher Quality of Life, and Participation in Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury?

This study aimed to examine the relevance of social skills and their different dimensions (ie, expressivity, sensitivity, control) in respect to social support, depression, participation, and quality of life (QOL) in people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Depression, participation, and QOL were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Utrecht Scale for Evaluation of Rehabilitation-Participation, and 5 selected items of the World Health Organization Quality of Life Scale. The Social Skills Inventory and the Social Support Questionnaire were employed to assess social skills (expressivity, sensitivity, control) and social support, respectively. Structural equation modeling was conducted. In model 1 (χ2=27.81; df=19; P=.087; root mean square error of approximation=.033; 90% confidence interval=.000–.052), social skills as a latent variable was related to social support (β=.31; R2=.10), depression (β=−.31; total R2=.42), and QOL (β=.46; R2=.25). Social support partially mediated the impact of social skills on QOL (indirect effect: β=.04; P=.02) but not on depression or participation. In model 2 (χ2=27.96; df=19; P=.084; root mean square error of approximation=.031; 90% confidence interval=.000–.053), the social skills dimension expressivity showed a path coefficient of β=.20 to social support and β=.18 to QOL. Sensitivity displayed a negative path coefficient to QOL (β=−.15) and control a path coefficient of β=−.15 to depression and β=.24 to QOL.

The study concluded that social skills are a resource related to more social support, lower depression scores, and higher QOL.