Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Ottomanelli, L., Sippel, J.L., Cipher, D.J., Goetz, L.L. (2011). Factors associated with employment among veterans with spinal cord injury. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 34 (3), 141-150.
Title:  Factors associated with employment among veterans with spinal cord injury
Authors:  Ottomanelli, L., Sippel, J.L., Cipher, D.J., Goetz, L.L.
Year:  2011
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Survey research

Structured abstract:

Background:  Unemployment rates among persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) are well documented as being higher than that of the general population. Various predictors to employment and unemployment such as educational background, receipt of Social Security Disability Income and Social Security Income, and demographic variables are well documented. There is very little research specific to employment of veterans with SCI.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to examine predictors of a veteran’s ability to obtain competitive employment after a spinal cord injury.
Setting:  Veterans Affairs Medical Centers
Study sample:  The sample consisted of veterans (N=238) receiving healthcare at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. All participants met the following criteria: (1) diagnosed with a SCI, (2) medically stable, (3) desire in competitive employment.
Control or comparison condition:  Employment outcomes
Data collection and analysis:  All participants completed the Veterans RAND 36-item health survey (VR-36), Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique (CHART) to determine dimensions of handicap, and Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomology-Self Report (QIDS-SR). Baseline interviews and data were also collected and used for this study. The association of select variables with employment status was determined using logistic regression analysis.
Findings:  Among the study sample only 34.5% were employed at any time after the SCI. Those that were employed reported greater mobility on the CHART subscale. Receiving Social Security benefits was a significant disincentive for employment.
Conclusions:  Vocational rehabilitation counselors should be aware of the implications of this study. Focusing on rapid re-entry into the workforce could be the most effective way to gain post SCI employment. Returning a person (veterans included) with SCI to work before he or she receives SSDI may help maximize employment.

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