Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Krause, J. S. (2003). Years to employment after spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 84 (9), 1282-1289.
Title:  Years to employment after spinal cord injury
Authors:  Krause, J. S.
Year:  2003
Journal/Publication:  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Publisher:  American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes
Research design:  Survey research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Employment after spinal cord injury (SCI) has been the most focused on non-medical outcome. Research has shown that being younger at time of injury, having a less severe injury, being more educated, and being Caucasian to result in more favorable employment outcomes. Research has also shown that employment rates improve with years after injury. There is a gap in the research in determining just how long it takes to return to employment after SCI onset when certain factors are present. Knowing how long it could take a client to return to work could help vocational rehabilitation counselors set realistic goals.
Purpose:  This study aimed to identify factors associated with the number of years between SCI onset and returning to work after it. Years to both first job and first full time job were examined.
Setting:  Participants were recruited from two hospitals in the Midwestern United States
Study sample:  All of the participants (N=259) met the eligibility criteria of: (1) having a traumatic SCI, (2) being at least 18 years of age, (3) being at least two years post injury, (4) having worked at some point after SCI onset.
Control or comparison condition:  Years between injury and first job, years between injury and first full time job.
Data collection and analysis:  The Life Situation Questionnaire was given to all participants and used to gather biographic data, post SCI outcomes, and employment data. Basic t tests and Pearson variables were used to determine the relationships between the independent variables (biographical, educational, etc.) and the outcome variables (years to first job, years to first full time job).
Findings:  The study sample averaged 4.8 years from SCI onset to first job and 6.3 years until first post injury full time job. The participants that returned to their pre injury jobs and/or were more educated with less severe injuries had faster returns to work.
Conclusions:  The research suggests that being more educated with a less severe injury speeds the return to work. Returning to the pre injury job or at least a position closely related to the pre injury job is also a fast track to getting back to work. Vocational rehabilitation counselors should work as closely as possible with pre injury employers.

Disabilities served:  Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Interventions:  Vocational rehabilitation
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Return to work