Objective: To examine whether the psychological benefits of sports activity differ between tetraplegics and paraplegics with spinal cord injury, and investigate the effect of frequency and modes of sports activity on the psychological benefits. Methods: The Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and Profiles of Mood States (POMS) were administered to 169 male individuals with spinal cord injury (mean age = 42.7 years) including 53 tetraplegics and 116 paraplegics. The subjects were divided into four groups according to their frequencies of sports activity; High-active (more than three times a week; n = 32), Middle-active (once or twice a week, n = 41), Low-active (once to three times a month, n = 32), and Inactive (no sports participation, n = 64). Results: Analysis of variance revealed significant differences in depression for SDS, trait anxiety for STAT and depression and vigor for POMS among the groups. High-active group showed the lowest scores of depression and trait anxiety and the highest score of vigor among the four groups. In contrast, no significant difference was found for any psychological measurements between tetraplegics and paraplegics. In addition, there was no significant difference for any psychological measurements among modes (wheelchair basketball, wheelchair racing, wheelchair tennis and minor modes). Conclusions: These findings demonstrated that sports activity can improve the psychological status, irrespective of tetraplegics and paraplegics, and that the psychological benefits are emphasized by sports activity at high frequency.
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