Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Krause, J. S., Terza, J. V., Saunders, L. L., & Dismuke, C. E. (2010). Delayed entry into employment after spinal cord injury: Factors related to time to first job. Spinal Cord, 48 487-491.
Title:  Delayed entry into employment after spinal cord injury: Factors related to time to first job
Authors:  Krause, J. S., Terza, J. V., Saunders, L. L., & Dismuke, C. E.
Year:  2010
Journal/Publication:  Spinal Cord
Publisher:  International Spinal Cord Society
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Survey research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Returning to employment is a major goal of spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation. Employment rates after SCI have been very variable among past research with well-educated Caucasians having suffered less severe injuries leading the way in post SCI employment. A study with 500 participants showed that it took an average of 3.8 years to return to gainful employment following SCI. Less time to employment was shown among educated participants, participants with less severe injuries, participants with computer skills, and driving a modified vehicle. Other research found 4.8 years from SCI onset to first job and 6.3 years until first full time job.
Purpose:  This study aimed to identify factors associated with times from SCI onset to first post injury job and first post injury full time job. This study used an expanded and more diverse participant pool than previous research.
Setting:  Participants were recruited from hospitals in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States.
Study sample:  There were three criteria for inclusion among the 1,134 participants. All participants (1) had a traumatic SCI, (2) at least one year post injury, and (3) between the ages of 18-64. The mean age at the time of SCI was 30.8 years and the participants averaged 14.8 years since injury. About twenty-four (24.4%) of participants were ambulatory and the rest could not walk. About sixty-four (64.4%) of participants had at least a high school education and 90.7% worked before their injury.
Control or comparison condition:  Time to first job after SCI was the comparison condition
Data collection and analysis:  The Life Situation Questionnaire was used to assess the targeted variables. Predictor variables such as age at injury, race, gender, and injury severity were also gathered. Demographic data on all participants was gathered. A Weibull survival model was used to estimate time to first job as it could be attributed to each predictor variable.
Findings:  A certain set of variables was consistent with reduced time to post SCI employment. Being Caucasian, having a less severe injury, having a higher level of education, and having the first employment be with the pre SCI employer were all associated with less time to post injury employment.
Conclusions:  These findings show that pre injury education is a large factor in returning to employment quickly. Going back to the pre injury employer is also a fast track to being employed after SCI. Vocational rehab counselors should work as closely as possible with pre injury employers of their clients.

Disabilities served:  Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Outcomes:  Return to work