Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Krause, J. S. (2010). Is the ability to ambulate associated with better employment outcomes in participants with traumatic spinal cord injury?. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 53 (2), 117-119.
Title:  Is the ability to ambulate associated with better employment outcomes in participants with traumatic spinal cord injury?
Authors:  Krause, J. S.
Year:  2010
Journal/Publication:  Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin
Publisher:  Hammill Institute on Disabilities
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Survey research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Previous research has indicated that the more severe a spinal cord injury (SCI) the less likely a person is to return to employment. Those with less severe injuries it would seem would have improved employment outcomes. SCI severity can be looked at in terms of ambulatory status. Patients that are fully ambulatory require no assistance to walk. Partially dependent ambulators require assistance from another person to walk. Patients that cannot ambulate at all use some sort of device for movement.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to determine the association of ambulatory status with employment outcomes. The author hypothesized that those with full ambulation would be more likely to be employed than partially dependent ambulators.
Setting:  Participants were identified from records at two Midwestern hospitals and a SCI specialty center in the Southeastern United States.
Study sample:  The study sample of 1,397 participants all met three inclusion criteria: (1) a traumatic SCI, (2) at least one year since the SCI, and (3) between the ages of 18-64.
Intervention:  N/A
Control or comparison condition:  Employment outcome as a function of ambulatory status was the comparison condition.
Data collection and analysis:  Data was collected through a Life Situation Questionnaire-revised survey form. A two stage logistic regression analysis was used to determine the likelihood of being employed based on ambulatory status. Employment was defined as doing any work for pay at the time of the survey.
Findings:  The initial hypothesis was confirmed and those with full ambulation were most likely to be employed. Their likelihood of being employed over partially dependent ambulators was 4.53 times greater.
Conclusions:  Partially dependent ambulators may need more support from vocational rehabilitation counselors in order to return to work. Future research should examine a more broad set of employment outcomes and account for things such as full time vs. part time work.

Disabilities served:  Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Interventions:  Rehabilitation counseling
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition