Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Dave Hayes




Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury, Depression, Implicit Memory, Physical Therapy



The focus of spinal cord injury rehabilitation over the past four decades has shifted from medical management to issuses that affect quality of life and community participation (Gómara- Toldrà, Sliwinski, & Dijkers, 2014). However, the care team for spinal cord injury patients still need to collaberate in order to design and implement interventions that result in maximum participation to provide an individual with a spinal cord injury an effective rehabilitation program. In order to create such a rehablitation program, the care team must know how certain psychological and cognitive aspects, such as depression and implict memory, are related to the course and out comes of physcial therapy treatment. The aim of this pilot study was to complie research concerning how depression and implicit memory are related to the physical therapy outcomes of an individual with a spinal cord injury.


The study team administered a battery of psychological tests to two control groups, one consisting of younger individuals and the other consisting of older individuals, and a patient group. These tests were administered on two separate occassions to both control groups and on four separate occassions to the patient group. The data collected was annalyzed by runing repeated measure ANOVAs, appropriate post-hoc tests, and partial correlation tests.

Results and Conclusions

There was no way to normalize the physical therapy improvement data for patients. This was the result of there not being a universal approach to treating incomplete spinal cord injuries and documenting improvement rates. However, the study team did find effects related to symptoms of depression and implicit memory ability across the patient and healthy control groups. Specifically, the patient group had greater symptoms of depression compared to either the younger or older control groups, and the older control group had the slowest implicit memory compared to either the younger control group or patient group.