Research Reports - Stability of employment over the first 3 years following traumatic brain injury

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2014 May 8

Ponsford JL(1), Spitz G

OBJECTIVE:: To examine the stability of employment between 1 and 3 years
following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to identify the variables associated
with continued employment throughout this time span.
PARTICIPANTS:: This study included 236 individuals with predominantly moderate to
very severe TBI, who had received rehabilitation in the context of a no-fault
accident compensation system. Participants were eligible for the current study if
they were employed before injury and reported their employment status at 1, 2,
and 3 years following their injury as part of a longitudinal head injury outcome
study.
RESULTS:: Only 44% of participants remained employed at each of the 3 years
following TBI. There was also substantial transition into and out of employment
across the 3 years. Significantly greater instability in employment was reported
by individuals who were machinery operators or laborers before injury, had a
longer duration of posttraumatic amnesia, reported more cognitive difficulties,
and were less mobile 1 year following their injury.
CONCLUSION:: A number of important factors determine the likelihood of achieving
stability in employment following TBI. Findings from the current study support
the continued need to identify ways in which physical as well as cognitive
changes contribute to employment following TBI. Further examination is needed to
identify possible compensatory strategies or job modifications to maximize the
likelihood of job retention.

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