Life satisfaction of young adults with spina bifida


* Correspondence to first author at University Medical Center Groningen, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands. E-mail:


This study concerns life satisfaction and its determinants in Dutch young adults with spina bifida (SB). Data on life satisfaction (Life Satisfaction Questionnaire [LiSat-9]) were related to hydrocephalus, lesion level, disabilities, and demographic variables. In total, 179 young adults with SB participated (41% male, age range 16-25y; 79% SB aperta, 67% hydrocephalus [HC], 39% wheelchair-dependent). Most were satisfied with their life as a whole (24% dissatisfied). No difference was found from a population reference group (28% dissatisfied). Highest proportions of dissatisfaction were found for financial situation (44%), partnership relations (49%), and sex life (55%). Least dissatisfaction was found for contact with friends (17%) and families (15%). Young adults with SB and HC were more satisfied with their financial situation and family life but were less satisfied with self-care ability and partnership relations than those without HC and the reference group. However, except for self-care ability, relationships between life satisfaction and having SB were weak. In conclusion, self-care ability and partnership relations were rated least favourable and may need more attention from care providers. Overall, SB does not seem to be an important determinant of life satisfaction.

List of abbreviations



Life Satisfaction Questionnaire


Spina bifida