Health-promotion needs of youth with a spinal cord injury in South Africa

06 Aug 2012

Purpose. To determine the health promotion needs through an exploration of health-related behaviours and the factors that influence the behaviour of physically disabled youth with spinal cord injury. Methods. A descriptive and exploratory study that utilized a qualitative approach was carried out among ten participants aged between 15 and 29 years who were purposely selected. Information was obtained from individual face-to-face interviews and a focus-group discussion. Results. The participants were involved in risky health behaviours including sedentary lifestyles, use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Various factors that influenced their participation in these behaviours were identified including personal struggles with identity and adjustment issues. Conclusions. The results emphasize that participants were involved in health-risk behaviours, which are associated with development of secondary conditions such as respiratory problems, heart diseases, and stroke. Health-promotion strategies employed for these individuals should address the psychological impact of spinal cord injury (SCI) on the individual as an influence to participation in health risk behaviours.