Objectives: To determine employment outcomes of adults with pediatric-onset spinal cord injury (SCI) and factors associated with those outcomes.
Design: Structured interview, including standardized measures.
Participants: Individuals who sustained an SCI at age 18 years or younger, were 24 years or older at follow-up, did not have a significant brain injury, and were living in the United States or Canada. A total of 195 subjects were interviewed. Mean age at injury was 14 years (0-18 y), mean age at interview was 29 years (24-37 y), and mean duration of injury was 15 years (7-28 y). All participants had been enrolled in SCI programs.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: A structured interview, the FIM instrument, the Craig Handicap Assessment and Recording Technique, the Medical Outcomes Study 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale.
Results: Of the participants, 99 (51%) were employed, 78 (40%) were unemployed, 12 (6%) were students, and 6 (3%) were homemakers. A predictive model of employment identified 4 factors associated with employment: education, community mobility, functional independence, and decreased medical complications. Other variables significantly associated with employment included community integration, independent driving, independent living, higher income, and life satisfaction.
Conclusions: Compared with the general population, the high rate of unemployment among adults with pediatric-onset SCI is a cause for concern. Risk factors associated with adult unemployment provide guidelines for targeting rehabilitation resources and strategies.
Copyright 2002 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation