Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Sung, C., Muller, V., Jones, Jana, E., & Chan, F. (2014). Vocational rehabilitation service patterns and employment outcomes of people with epilepsy. Epilepsy Research, 108 1469-1479.
Title:  Vocational rehabilitation service patterns and employment outcomes of people with epilepsy
Authors:  Sung, C., Muller, V., Jones, Jana, E., & Chan, F.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Epilepsy Research
Publisher:  Elsevier
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported
Research design:  Database mining

Structured abstract:

Background:  Epilepsy affects around 2.2 million people in the United States. Despite a strong desire to work seizure related issues negatively impact people with epilepsy's employment. As a group their employment rate remains low and has shown little change in the past 30 years. Those who are employed are often underemployed or receive low wages. People with epilepsy face multiple barriers to work. State-federal vocational rehabilitation programs can provide services to improve employment outcomes.
Purpose:  This study looked at the effect of demographic variables and vocational rehabilitation services for people with epilepsy. Questions addressed were "How do demographic variables and the provision of cash or medical benefits affect the employment outcomes of people with epilepsy after receiving vocational rehabilitation services? Which vocational rehabilitation services are directly related to employment outcomes of people with epilepsy who received services from state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies."
Setting:  Data was collected in various vocational rehabilitation services agencies located across the United States.
Study sample:  Data was extracted for 2,030 individuals with epilepsy whose cases were closed as either successfully rehabilitated 43% versus unsuccessfully rehabilitated 56.5%. The sample size ranged in ages from 16 to 64 years. Over half or 55% were men and the remaining 45% were women. The majority or 62% were European American. Seventy three percent were high school graduates or had received more education. Notably, the majority or 86% had co-morbid psychiatric conditions and 85% had co-morbid cognitive limitations. The majority or 65% did not receive cash benefits and 60% did not have medical benefits. Related to vocational rehabilitation case service variables, time in service on average was 29 months and the number of services received was four. Case dollars spent were on average 3,815 dollars.
Intervention:  The intervention was State Federal Vocational Rehabilitation services.
Control or comparison condition:  There was no control or comparison condition.
Data collection and analysis:  The dependent variable was competitive employment. Predictor variables included demographic characteristics, work disincentives, and vocational rehabilitation services. "The data were analyzed using SPSS 22.0. Hierarchical logistic regression analysis were performed to examine the effect of demographic covariates, work disincentives, and Vocational Rehabilitation service patterns on employment outcomes of people with epilepsy."
Findings:  The researchers found that there was no significant age or gender differences between the employed and unemployed groups. More European Americans were in the employed group than the unemployed group. Those who were successfully employed had a higher educational level. Those in the unemployed group received cash or medical benefits. This group also had anxiety or depression more often than the employed group. The employed group spent less time receiving Vocational Rehabilitation services. They also received more services than the unemployed group, thus more case dollars were spent on the employed group. There was a significant relationship between SSI, SSDI, and Medicare and unemployment outcomes. The two vocational services most frequently received were: assessment 63% and counseling and guidance 61%. There were significant relationships between employment outcomes and the following Vocational Rehabilitation services: college or university training, occupational or vocational training, job search assistance, job placement assistance, on the job supports, transportation services, maintenance services, information and referral services and other services.
Conclusions:  State Federal Vocational Rehabilitation services can assist individuals with epilepsy gain and maintain employment. They should access this resource. Furthermore, physicians and other clinicians should encourage them to access services. Future studies should look at the impact of various vocational services for unemployed individuals with epilepsy.

Disabilities served:  Medical impairment
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Race: American Indian or Alaska Native
Race: Asian
Race: Black / African American
Ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition