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Spinal Cord. 2010 Jun;48(6):487-91. doi: 10.1038/sc.2009.157. Epub 2009 Nov 24.

Delayed entry into employment after spinal cord injury: factors related to time to first job.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences and Research, College of Health Professions, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.



Data were cross-sectional and were collected by survey methodology.


To investigate factors predictive of length of time between spinal cord injury (SCI) onset and start of first post-injury employment and full-time employment.


A large specialty hospital in the Southeastern United States, with additional participant samples from two hospitals in the Midwestern United States.


Participants were identified from patient records at the participating hospitals. They met the following three exclusion/inclusion criteria: traumatic SCI, at least 18 years of age at time of survey, and a minimum of 1-year after SCI. Outcome measures were years from injury onset to beginning first post-injury job and years to first full-time post-injury job. Two separate models were developed for each outcome using a regression analysis. All those 10 years and more post-injury were censored (that is eliminated) in the analysis.


Having a higher level of education, less severe injury, being Caucasian, and returning to the pre-injury employer were associated with a shorter interval to initiation of employment with 10-year censoring. In addition to these variables, gender was associated with time to return to first full-time job.


The findings underscore the importance of using pre-injury education and opportunities to return to the pre-injury employer to minimize the length of time until initiation of employment after SCI.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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