Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Chapin, M. H. & Kewman, D. G. (2001). Factors affecting employment following spinal cord injury: A qualitative study. Rehabilitation Psychology, 46 (4), 400-416.
Title:  Factors affecting employment following spinal cord injury: A qualitative study
Authors:  Chapin, M. H. & Kewman, D. G.
Year:  2001
Journal/Publication:  Rehabilitation Psychology
Publisher:  Educational Publishing Foundation
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Case history review

Structured abstract:

Background:  Results from the University of Michigan Model Spinal Cord Injury Care Systems database indicate that, even though 59% of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) are employed before injury, the majority (75%) are not employed at follow-up after injury.
Purpose:  The purpose of the study was to examine factors influencing successful return to work following spinal cord injury (SCI).
Setting:  The setting included a variety of rehabilitation programs.
Study sample:  Six employed and 6 unemployed persons with SCI were matched based on education, race, age, gender, time since injury, and level of function.
Intervention:  Interviews were conducted regarding work history, family life, impact of disability, role models, barriers to employment, and satisfaction with vocational rehabilitation services received.
Control or comparison condition:  A comparison was made between employed persons to unemployed persons.
Data collection and analysis:  This was a qualitative research design. Interviews were used to collect data.
Findings:  Psychological and environmental factors were found to be the strongest moderating variables affecting employment. Key psychological factors associated with employment were optimism, self-esteem, achievement orientation, and role models. Key environmental factors were monetary incentives, disincentives, access, and accommodation.
Conclusions:  Employment barriers and the perception of these barriers as insurmountable need to be decreased. Policies that promote return to work with former employers are likely to improve employment rates for persons with SCI. A more intensive job exploration process using job shadowing of peers and positive peer models may also improve employment after SCI.

Disabilities served:  Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Populations served:  Gender: Male
Race: White / Caucasian
Interventions:  Assistive technology
Job search and placement assistance
Rehabilitation counseling
Vocational assessment
Vocational rehabilitation
Outcomes:  Return to work
Full-time employment
Part-time employment