Age-related variation in mobility independence among wheelchair users with spinal cord injury: A cross-sectional study

<p><b>Objective</b>: To evaluate age-related variation in mobility independence among community-living wheelchair users with spinal cord injury (SCI).</p> <p><b>Design</b>: Community Survey (2011–2013) as part of the Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Cohort Study.</p> <p><b>Setting</b>: Community.</p> <p><b>Participants</b>: Individuals aged 16 years or older with traumatic or non-traumatic SCI permanently residing in Switzerland and using a wheelchair for moving around moderate distances (10–100 m).</p> <p><b>Interventions</b>: Not applicable.</p> <p><b>Outcome Measures</b>: Mobility-related items of the Spinal Cord Independence Measure-Self Report were matched to the three principal domains “changing basic body position,” “transferring oneself” and “moving around.” Binary outcomes (“independence” vs. “no independence”) were created for every domain and analyzed using multivariable logistic regression (adjusted for sex, socioeconomic factors, SCI characteristics, and health conditions).</p> <p><b>Results</b>: Regression analyses (<i>N</i> = 949; 27% women; median age 51, interquartile range 41–61) showed a decline in the odds of independence (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval) with increasing age for “changing basic body position” (age 16–30 (reference), 31–45 (0.99; 0.53–1.83), 46–60 (0.64; 0.33–1.21), 61–75 (0.45; 0.22–0.92), 76+ (0.18; 0.07–0.44); P < 0.001), “transferring oneself” (age 16–30 (reference), 31–45 (0.77; 0.37–1.61), 46–60 (0.39; 0.18–0.84), 61+ (0.05; 0.02–0.14); P < 0.001), and “moving around” (age 16–30 (reference), 31–45 (0.79; 0.42–1.48), 46–60 (0.49; 0.26–0.94), 61–75 (0.49; 0.24–1.01), 75+ (0.11; 0.04–0.30); P < 0.001).</p> <p><b>Conclusions</b>: Mobility independence was negatively associated with age in wheelchair users with SCI. Future longitudinal analyses are required to gain further insights into the causal factors for the age-related decline.</p>