Relationship between cognitive activity and adjustment in four spinal-cord-injured individuals: a longitudinal investigation.
Although most of the stress one faces in life occurs in anticipation of a stressful period, very little research has been done on what anticipatory cognitive activities are related to subsequent adjustment. The present study investigated the relationship between measures of anticipatory cognitive activity and subsequent adjustment in four spinal-cord-injured individuals. Measures of anticipatory cognitive activity, which were assessed before subjects left the rehabilitation center, were related to measures of adjustment, which were assessed when subjects returned to the rehabilitation center for a medical checkup anywhere from 7 to 13 1/2 weeks following discharge. Seven-month follow-ups were conducted with two of the subjects. Although the small sample size precluded any statistical analysis of the data, the rank orderings of subjects across the variables of interest revealed a number of interesting trends. The most striking trend was that the best adjusted subject predominantly employed rationalization and denial in anticipating going home. A theory to explain why these strategies may be effective for spinal-cord-injured individuals is proposed. Other trends revealed that individuals who avoid catastrophizing and worrying about what their life will be like, who think more about the various goals they may have once they leave the rehabilitation center, and who employ internal forms of mental rehearsal in anticipating going home tend to be better adjusted. Although any conclusions that can be drawn from this study are only suggestive, given the small sample size, the fruitfulness of conducting this type of research is demonstrated.
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