A 20-year longitudinal perspective on the vocational experiences of persons with spinal cord injury

Authors: Cullen, N., Chundamala, J., Bayley, M., & Jutai, J.
Year Published 2000
Publication Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin
Volume 43
Number 3
Pages 122-133
Publisher Hammill Institute on Disabilities

For many years, researchers have been interested in understanding the vocational experiences of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). Their studies have helped build a body of knowledge regarding how frequently people with SCI become employed and what personal characteristics are related to successful outcomes. Re-entry into the workforce is considered a primary marker of rehabilitation success, both because of the value that society places on productivity and the fact that, for many people, work is linked to psycho-social and medical adjustment (Krause, 1990, 1991). Research findings have helped rehabilitation workers provide appropriate counseling and services to individuals with new SCI.


The vocational experiences of 50 individuals 22 to 45 years after a spinal cord injury are recounted based on interviews conducted in 1974 and 1994.


Longitudinal study 22-45 years post spinal cord injury.


50 individuals with spinal cord injury.

Data Collection

Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected, including Life Story Interviews and work experience data.


There was no control or comparison condition.


All but 7 participants have engaged in remunerative employment. At the time of the last interview, 58% were working full time and 16% were working part time.


Factors that contributed to the vocational accomplishments of this sample include early work experiences, comprehensive rehabilitation services, and work ethic.

URL http://rcb.sagepub.com/content/43/3/122.full.pdf
Populations Male & Female
Outcomes Full-time employment | Part-time employment
NIDILRR Funded Not Reported
Research Design Observational
Peer Reviewed Yes