Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Ottomanelli, L., & Lind, L. (2009). Review of critical factors related to employment after spinal cord injury: Implications for research and vocational services. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 32 (5), 503-531.
Title:  Review of critical factors related to employment after spinal cord injury: Implications for research and vocational services
Authors:  Ottomanelli, L., & Lind, L.
Year:  2009
Journal/Publication:  The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Publisher:  American Paraplegia Society
Full text:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792457/   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Systematic review / meta-analysis

Structured abstract:

Background:  Unemployment is a serious problem for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). According to the authors, unemployment for the population of SCI individuals is ten times greater than the general population. In addition, return to preinjury jobs has been reported as very low for this group of individuals.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive summary of the literature regarding predictors of employment, the benefits, and barriers.
Setting:  This study is a systematic review. The included studies were undertaken in various locations and settings.
Study sample:  The sample consisted of 60 articles that reported on employment rate of individuals with spinal cord injury.
Intervention:  The intervention was evidence-based supported employment and traditional vocational rehabilitation.
Control or comparison condition:  There were no comparison or control conditions.
Data collection and analysis:  Authors identified 579 articles and reviewed to determine presence of reported employment rates. Of these, 60 articles were found to include employment rates for individuals with SCI. These articles were reviewed to identify critical factors related to employment after spinal cord injury.
Findings:  Results indicated that the average rate of any employment after SCI was approximately 35%. The review of literature indicates that there are 11 factors associated with employability of individuals with SCI. This includes education, type of employment, severity of disability, age, time post injury, sex, marital status, social support, vocational consoling, medical problems associated with SCI, employer role, environment, and professional interests. Individuals with college backgrounds are more likely to return to work. Being younger at the time of injury is associated with the best employment outcomes. The probability of employment after SCI improves with increasing time since injury. Race is also associated with obtaining employment after SCI. Individuals who are white are more likely to be employment than those from minorities. Evidence-based supported employment seems to be the most applicable model for assisting individuals with SCI in restoring meaningful employment.
Conclusions:  Characteristics associated with employment include demographic variables, injury-related factors, employment history, psychosocial issues and disability benefit status. Evidence-based supported employment practices seem to be the most applicable model for assisting individuals with SCI in restoring meaningful employment. Control studies are needed to test this conclusion.

Disabilities served:  Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Veterans
Interventions:  Supported employment
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Return to work