Objective: To determine whether there are sex differences in employment 1 year after traumatic brain injury.
Design: Prospective cohort.
Setting: Acute care hospitals in South Carolina and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) rehabilitation centers.
Participants: Subjects in the TBIMS national dataset and the South Carolina Traumatic Brain Injury Follow-up Registry who were expected to be working before injury and followed at 1 year postinjury.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measure: Change in employment from preinjury to 1 year postinjury.
Results: When other measured influences on change in hours worked were held constant, there were significant interactions for sex by age and sex by marital status. Compared with men, women were more likely to decrease hours or stop working, except in the oldest age group (55-64y) in which men were more likely to stop working. For women, there was a pattern showing better employment outcomes as age increased. Decreased employment for women was most evident for married women, who were much more likely to reduce hours or stop working. There was also a tendency for divorced women to be more likely to stop working when compared with divorced men.
Conclusions: These findings run counter to the current literature. Although definitive explanations must await future studies, causal factors arising from differential societal behavior toward women as well as discriminatory attitudes about women and employment deserve further study.