Objective: To examine the ability of the Motor Index Score (MIS), in combination with demographic variables, to predict return to work during a 3-year period for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI).
Methods: Prospectively collected data, between 1986 and 1995, submitted to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center were analyzed to determine the prediction of return to work utilizing variables of education, ethnicity, age, marital status, gender, and MIS. Individuals, aged 18 to 65 yrs, employed at the time of their injury, were evaluated at discharge from rehabilitation and at 1 (YR1), 2 (YR2), and 3 (YR3) years postinjury (sample sizes of 1,857, 1,486, and 1,177, respectively).
Results: The most important predictors of return to work were education, MIS, ethnicity, and age at onset of SCI. These variables resulted in a high rate of accuracy for predicting across all 3 yrs (YR1, 81%; YR2, 82%; YR3, 77%).
Conclusions: The ability to predict return to work after SCI was shown utilizing MIS and demographic variables, with nearly 80% accuracy. This suggests that return to work after SCI is a dynamic process, with the level of importance of each variable changing with time postinjury.