Relationships between cigarette smoking, leisure-time physical activity, and social participation among persons with spinal cord injury


Introduction: People with spinal cord injury (SCI) are more likely than their able-bodied counterparts to report cigarette smoking, low leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), and barriers to social participation. Interventions targeting these behaviours may enhance the lives of persons with SCI, as targeting a single behaviour may affect the others. However, the relationship between these behaviours has not been assessed in the SCI population. This study aims to explore the relationships between smoking, LTPA, and social participation among people with SCI. Methods: Data were analyzed from the Study of Health and Activity in People with Spinal Cord Injury (SHAPE-SCI) regarding cigarette smoking rates, LTPA (Physical Activity Recall Assessment), and social participation (physical independence, social integration, and occupation subscales of the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique – Short Form). LTPA was converted to a categorical variable: no LTPA, 40 minutes of LTPA. Social participation subscales were dichotomized: moderate-to-severe restriction and mild-to-no restriction. Chi-squared tests were used to assess the relationship between cigarette smoking, LTPA, and social participation. Results: Of the 693 participants, 151 (22%) smoked (117 males; 34 females). Participants who smoked were less likely to report moderate-to-severe restrictions to physical independence than those who did not smokers. (X2=5.4, p=.03). No differences in levels of LTPA were observed between those who smoked or did not smoke (X2=2.3, p=.31). Conclusion: Findings suggests that people with SCI who smoke may have greater levels of physical independence than non-smokers. These insights may inform development of SCI-specific smoking cessation interventions.