Objective: To study injury-related and individual factors as predictors of work participation in persons with traumatic and congenital spinal cord injury.
Design: Cross-sectional questionnaire study.
Subjects: One hundred and eighty-two persons with traumatic spinal cord injury treated in the Spinal Injuries Unit in Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden, and 48 persons with meningomyelocele admitted to the Young Adult Teams in Göteborg, Borås and Skövde, Sweden.
Methods: A structured questionnaire was sent by post. Main outcome variable was participation in work. Logistic regression modelling was used to study the associations between the potential predictors and work participation.
Results: Employment rates were 47% in the traumatic spinal cord injury group and 38% in the meningomyelocele group. The presence of other somatic or mental disorder, and neuropathic pain decreased work participation among the men with traumatic spinal cord injury. Among persons with meningomyelocele, better ambulatory status and higher educational level increased work participation. In all groups higher independence in daily activities increased the probability of work participation. According to multivariable modelling carried out for the men with traumatic spinal cord injury, age over 55 years and the presence of mental disorder decreased work participation.
Conclusion: Our data show that work participation is affected by individual and injury-related factors. Of the latter, many can be affected by rehabilitation.