Subjective stress in male veterans with spinal cord injury.

We undertook a telephone survey to examine perceived stress among 165 veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI) who received care from a Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Measures included Perceived Stress Scale, Hassles Scale, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, Short-Form State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Satisfaction with Life Scale, and Short-Form Interpersonal Support Evaluation List. The mean perceived stress score for our sample of veterans with SCI (17.3) was higher than the means for men from the general population (12.1) and nonveteran men with SCI (13.9). Physical abilities, health, and financial issues were frequently reported hassles. Stress was related positively to depressive symptomatology and anxiety and negatively to life satisfaction. The association of hassles with measures of psychological well-being was partially mediated by perceived stress. The association of perceived stress with depression and anxiety varied as a function of social support, suggesting that those with low social support are the most vulnerable to the negative impact of stress on their psychological well-being. Stress management programs designed specifically to meet the needs of veterans with SCI are needed.