Factors associated with employment among veterans with spinal cord injury

Lisa Ottomanelli, Jennifer L. Sippel, Daisha J. Cipher, Lance L. Goetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to investigate predictors of competitive employment after a spinal cord injury (SCI) among veterans. This study retrospectively examined return to work after SCI, types of jobs held, and variables that were associated with return to work. The present sample included 238 veterans receiving healthcare at one of several Veteran Affairs Medical Centers. Data were obtained through subject interviews and chart extraction. Subjects were also administered the Veterans RAND 36-Item Health Survey (VR-36), Quick Inventory for Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report (QIDS-SR), and Craig Handicap Assessment Reporting Technique (CHART). Results revealed that 34.5% of our study sample was employed at some point after SCI. Employed subjects had significantly higher scores on two of the CHART subscales (Mobility and Occupation) than unemployed subjects, but there were no significant differences among subjects on the QIDS or the VR-36. Receipt of social security benefits was a significant disincentive for employment, but receipt of Veterans disability benefits was not. Education, gender, ethnicity, level and severity of injury were not significant predictors of employment status after SCI, after controlling for demographic variables. Clinical implications of these findings may be that vocational rehabilitation interventions that focus on rapid re-entry to the workforce using existing skill sets may maximize post-SCI employment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-150
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011


  • Employment
  • benefits
  • disabilities
  • spinal cord injuries
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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