Vocational rehabilitation service patterns related to successful competitive employment outcomes of persons with spinal cord injury

Authors: Martin, D. J., Arns, P. G., Batterham, P. J., Afifi, A. A., & Steckart, M. J.
Year Published 2008
Publication Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Volume 28
Number 1
Pages 1-13
Publisher IOS Press

It is well documented in the literature that the employment rate of people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) decreases drastically after their injuries. Because of the importance of work to the physiological and psychological health and well being of persons with a disability, considerable research efforts have been devoted to studying the employment problems of persons with a spinal cord injury. Over a half of a million individuals are served by state vocational rehabilitation agencies each year, making it possible to study a large number of persons with SCI who are living in the community.


To examine the effect of demographic, work disincentives, and service variables on employment outcomes of persons with spinal cord injury in state vocational rehabilitation agencies.


This study included individuals with SCI served by multiple vocational rehabilitation agencies in various settings.


10,901 persons with spinal cord injury whose cases were closed either as employed (54%) or not employed (46%) by state vocational rehabilitation agencies in the fiscal year 2001.

Data Collection

An ex post facto design, using data mining as a statistical analysis strategy. Data was taken from the RSA-911 report for all the persons with SCI closed by State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies in 2001. A chi-squared automatic interaction detector (CHAID) based data mining analysis was used to identify the strongest associations between predictors (VR services) and the outcome variable (employment outcomes).


The CHAID data mining analysis revealed that job placement services, work disincentives, and case expenditures as the most important predictors of employment outcomes. In addition, physical restoration, substantial counseling, and assistive technology services all led to positive employment outcomes. Importantly, the CHAID analysis segmented the sample into 45 mutually exclusive homogeneous end groups, with a wide range of employment outcomes. The CHAID analysis indicated that demographic variables interacted with rehabilitation services to affect employment outcomes.


The results confirmed substantial counseling, assistive technology, and job placement and support services are important to the return-to-work success of persons with SCI.

URL http://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-vocational-rehabilitation/jvr00399
Populations Hispanic or Latino | American Indian or Alaska Native | Asian | Black / African American | Native Hawaiian / other Pacific Islander | White / Caucasian | Male & Female
Outcomes Employment acquisition
NIDILRR Funded Yes
Research Design Observational
Peer Reviewed Yes