Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Krause, J. S., Terza, J. V., & Dismuke C. E. (2010). Factors associated with labor force participation after spinal cord injury. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 33 (2), 89-99.
Title:  Factors associated with labor force participation after spinal cord injury
Authors:  Krause, J. S., Terza, J. V., & Dismuke C. E.
Year:  2010
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Associational research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Statistics show that about 64% of the US population participates in the labor force (LFP). Among people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) that number is much lower-typically not exceeding 30%. Demographic factors, injury related factors, educational status, and general factors have all been associated with LFP after SCI. Barriers to employment have been transportation problems, health limitations, and physical barriers, lack of work and/or educational experience, discrimination, and loss of benefits. Education is particularly important to employment status after SCI. Rates vary from 5.3% for less than 12 years of education to 68.8% for a doctoral degree or higher. Factors associated with entering the labor force and staying in the labor force may differ and both need to be examined.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to identify demographic, injury, vocational, and educational factors associated with LFP after SCI. Post SCI LFP was defined as being employed at some time after the injury. Current LFP was defined as being gainfully employed at the time of the study. Factors associated with both parameters were examined.
Setting:  This study is part of a larger longitudinal study that began in 1973. Participants were recruited from specialty hospitals in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States.
Study sample:  The final pool of participants (N=1398) all met the following criteria: (1) Traumatic SCI, (2) at least one year post injury, (3) between 18-65 years old. Most participants were male (73.7%) and white (78.1%). Participants averaged 42.2 years old and 15.1 years since SCI onset. The study sample averaged 13.7 years of education.
Control or comparison condition:  Labor force participation
Data collection and analysis:  The Life Situation Questionnaire-revised (LSQ-R) measured the study variables. The LSQ-R contains personal information concerning the facilitators or barriers to LFP and LFP data for all participants. A two stage regression model was used to predict current LFP and post injury LFP from the descriptive data of the participants.
Findings:  Several factors were associated with both post injury LFP and current LFP: Gender, being Caucasian, being able to walk, having at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, and going into management/professional or sales/office positions after SCI.
Conclusions:  Among these factors being able to walk and having at least a bachelor’s degree were the strongest predictors of LFP. Vocational rehabilitation counselors can use this data to know what will predict post SCI LFP. Future research should be longitudinal in nature and focus on LFP changes over time.

Disabilities served:  Spinal cord injury (SCI)