Explaining labor force status following spinal cord injury: the contribution of psychological variables Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:To investigate the relative influence of demographic, injury and psychological characteristics on the labor force status of people living with spinal cord injury. DESIGN:Cross-sectional survey. SUBJECTS:459 persons who had experienced a traumatic spinal cord injury. All participants were patients of 1 of 2 specialist spinal cord injury services located in south-eastern Australia. METHODS:A survey, administered on average of 11.2 years after their injury, was used to collect the data. The study's main outcome measure was labor force status at the time of survey. Of those invited to participate in the study, 73% agreed to do so. RESULTS:Demographic, injury and psychological variables were found to explain 30% of the variance in the employment criterion: "in the labor force" vs "not in the labor force". Psychological variables contributed significantly to the separation of the 2 labor force groups. CONCLUSION:The inclusion of the selected psychological variables has advanced the understanding of the factors related to return to work following spinal cord injury, however this understanding is still not complete. Future efforts in this field would likely benefit from the inclusion of additional psychological characteristics, as well as environmental factors.

publication date

  • December 1, 2003