What is the effect of spinal cord injury (SCI) on employment status?

Updated: Nov 01, 2018
  • Author: Lawrence S Chin, MD, FACS, FAANS; Chief Editor: Brian H Kopell, MD  more...
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Patients with spinal cord injury classified as American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) level D are more likely to be employed than individuals with ASIA levels A, B, and C (see Neurologic level and extent of injury under Clinical). Persons employed tend to work full-time. Individuals who return to work within 1 year of injury tend to return to the same job. Those individuals who return to work after 1 year of injury tend to work for a different employer at a different job requiring retraining. [17]

The likelihood of employment after injury is greater in patients who are younger, male, and white and who have more formal education, higher reported intelligence quotient (IQ), greater functional capacity, and less severe injury. Patients with greater functional capacity, less severe injury, history of employment at the time of injury, greater motivation to return to work, nonviolent injury, and ability to drive are more likely to return to work, especially after more elapsed time following injury.

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