A social psychology approach to measuring vocational rehabilitation intervention effectiveness Academic Article uri icon


  • It is rare for rehabilitation researchers to report substantial relationships between functional capacity and vocational rehabilitation achievements. The reason for this is that there are many other factors that also impact on the return-to-work outcomes people achieve. A solution to the problem of having to take into consideration the effects of multiple factors when evaluating intervention effectiveness is to focus more directly on cognitions and behaviors that have been theoretically and empirically linked with a satisfactory return to work. The aim of this paper is to explore and describe a measure of rehabilitation effectiveness based in cognitive-behavioral theory. Rather than the measurement of employment per se, the described measure is focused on the efforts individuals make in relation to achieving their desired outcome. To test the effectiveness, acceptability, and utility of the approach, the measure was trialed with 170 people with a spinal cord injury. This preliminary work has revealed that participants found the measure acceptable and gave detailed responses in regards to: their satisfaction with their vocational status; what it is they would prefer to be doing; and what it is that they are doing to achieve their aims. Study findings suggest that while the approach is likely to require further development, focusing on process variables holds promise as an evaluation approach when assessing the success of vocational rehabilitation intervention effectiveness.

publication date

  • 2002