A systematic review of functioning in vocational rehabilitation using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

J Occup Rehabil. 2011 Jun;21(2):134-46. doi: 10.1007/s10926-011-9290-8.


Background: Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is aimed at engaging or re-engaging individuals with work participation and employment. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) by the World Health Organization can be operationalized in the context of VR. The objective of this study is to review the literature to identify outcomes or measures being used in VR using a systematic review methodology and link those measures to the ICF.

Methods: We applied a structured search strategy using multiple databases. Items or constructs of the measures or outcomes identified were linked to the ICF by two trained individuals.

Results: We have identified 648 measures which contained 10,582 concepts that were linked to the ICF which resulted in 87 second-level ICF categories. Out of the 87 categories, 31 (35.6%) were related to body functions, 43 (49.4%) were related to activities and participation, and 13 (14.9%) were related to environmental factors. No category was related to body structures.

Conclusions: Our review found great diversity in the ICF contents of the measures used in different VR settings and study populations, which indicates the complexity of VR. This systematic review has provided a list of ICF categories which could be considered towards a successful VR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons / classification*
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational / classification*
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational / methods
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • World Health Organization