Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Kelly, E.H. (2007). Community competence and violently acquired spinal cord injury: Employment as a peer role model. Rehabilitation Psychology, 52 (2), 226-235.
Title:  Community competence and violently acquired spinal cord injury: Employment as a peer role model
Authors:  Kelly, E.H.
Year:  2007
Journal/Publication:  Rehabilitation Psychology
Publisher:  American Psychological Association
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Mixed methods

Structured abstract:

Background:  Violence peaked as the leading cause of spinal cord injury (SCI) in the 1990s. Much research has been done on the characteristics of individuals with violently acquired spinal cord injury (VASCI). However little is known about the essential elements to post-injury adjustment for this population. One measure of adjustment is known as community competence. This deals with the ability of the individual to successfully use the resources in their community. This is an essential component for individuals with VASCI in getting to resources not provided after inpatient rehabilitation. Peer support is one dimension that could affect community competence among individuals with VASCI.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to examine how employment as a peer role model influences the development of community competence in individuals with VASCI.
Setting:  The study took place in a rehabilitation hospital in Chicago, Illinois.
Study sample:  The study sample consists of 10 individuals with VASCI who were employed at the hospital as peer mentors to other individuals with VASCI and completed at least part of their rehab at the hospital as one group and another group consisting of 10 individuals with VASCI that completed at least part of their rehab at the hospital but were not employed as peer mentors as a second group.
Control or comparison condition:  The non-employed group of individuals with VASCI served as the control group.
Data collection and analysis:  All participants took part in an interview that included a demographic section, a qualitative interview, and a quantitative scale. Important of note in the qualitative interview is that peer employees were asked how being an employed role model affected their levels of community competence. The quantitative scale assessed knowledge of community service agencies. Qualitative interview data was analyzed using a modified grounded theory. Quantitative data was analyzed using nonparametric tests.
Findings:  Peer role models displayed a greater knowledge of community resources brought about through higher levels of exposure to them and increased connection to positive networks.
Conclusions:  These findings suggest that employment can lead to a greater understanding of community resources among individuals with VASCI.

Disabilities served:  Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Outcomes:  Other