Aim: This exploratory study assessed (1) the associations between three major types of social support
(perceived, actual and structural) and post-injury daily functioning and (2) the ability of subjective–objective social
support dyads to predict rehabilitation outcome among traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) patients one-year postdischarge.
Method: Using a prospective study design, 20 SCI patients of workforce age discharged from the Royal Talbot
Rehabilitation Hospital, Melbourne, Australia during 2007 were assessed on a range of demographic, injury and social
support variables. Post-injury daily functioning was assessed 12-months post-discharge.
Results: Bivariate analyses revealed that the three major types of social support were associated with better post-injury
daily functioning. Multivariate analyses revealed that the dyad of (subjective) perceived social support and (objective)
community integration was the best predictor of successful rehabilitation outcome. For all three social support dyads, the
subjective component contributed greater unique variance to the overall predictive ability of the model than did the
accompanying objective component.
Conclusions: Use of psychometrically sound scales that incorporate objective and subjective measures of social support
may provide a more effective means of evaluating the contribution of social support to rehabilitation outcome, plus
indicate whether desired social support levels satisfactorily match those received.