Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Shem, K., Medel, R., Wright, J., Kolakowsky-Hayner, S.A., Duong T. (2011). Return to work and school: a model mentoring program for youth and young adults with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord, 49 544-548.
Title:  Return to work and school: a model mentoring program for youth and young adults with spinal cord injury
Authors:  Shem, K., Medel, R., Wright, J., Kolakowsky-Hayner, S.A., Duong T.
Year:  2011
Journal/Publication:  Spinal Cord
Publisher:  International Spinal Cord Society: Nature Publishing Group
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No

Structured abstract:

Background:  One predictor of return to work post SCI is previous employment. Youth and young adults with TBI, may not have had any or limited work history prior to injury. This group is also in the process of forming their self concept as it relates to careers. After injury youth and young adults with SCI may have to reconsider their ambitions. Previous research indicates that individuals with SCI may not receive the information and support needed to help ensure they receive the employment supports and resources needed to work.
Purpose:  The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a mentoring program to assist youth with SCI with post injury adjustment and improve quality of life. The goals included improving access to post secondary education or employment.
Setting:  The study took place in a variety of community based settings.
Study sample:  At enrollment, the study sample included 39 people with SCI between the ages of 16 and 26 years who were mentees. The majority or 82.1% were males. Average age was 19.9 years and the majority or 71.4% were Hispanic. Out of the 39 enrolled mentees, 29 were matched with mentors.
Intervention:  The intervention was the "Back on Track" mentoring program.
Control or comparison condition:  There was no control or comparison condition.
Data collection and analysis:  Mentees were matched with mentors. Over a two year time span, participants were evaluated at intake, at the time of entry into either post secondary education or employment and 4 months later. At enrollment an intake form was completed. At the end of the program a satisfactory questionnaire was completed. Follow up assessments were conducted 3 months after entry into the program and at 3 month intervals thereafter. After entry into post secondary education or employment a four month follow up was conducted. Standardized questionnaires enrollment and follow up included the Disability Rating Scale Employability and Functioning, Participation Index of the Mayo-Portland Adaptability Inventory, Supervision Rating Scale, Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique and Diener Satisfaction with Life Scale.
Findings:  Among the 39 individuals enrolled, 29 were matched with mentors and 10 completed the program. Seven of the mentees returned to post secondary education, one returned to school part-time, and two individuals returned to work. Barriers to program completion included: lack of motivation, priority given to therapies, denial of disability, family crisis, gang affiliation and substance abuse.
Conclusions:  Despite an array of barriers, the researchers concluded that the model mentoring program could be effective in assisting youth and young adults with returning to school or work. The mentor support could also improve life quality and satisfaction for this group. Future research should look at the effects of ongoing long term follow along services to assist youth and young adults with SCI with maintaining enrollment in education or employment.

Disabilities served:  Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Race: Black / African American
Race: White / Caucasian
Ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino
Interventions:  Peer mentor
Outcomes:  Return to work
Full-time employment
Part-time employment