Factors in the delay of returning to work after spinal cord injury

Spine Imaging

There are various factors that influence how and when a spinal cord injury patient returns to work-such as type of pre-injury employment, amount of family support, or years of education. A recent study focused on the factors that influenced the length of delay between the time of injury and the first post-injury job.

The results of this study found that returning to work for the same employer as before the injury shortened the delay of return to work after injury. In addition, having a higher level of education and being Caucasian were factors associated with a quick return to work. Interestingly, when transitioning from first post-injury job to first post-injury full-time job, Caucasian men were more likely to have a quick transition into full-time work after injury. Non-Caucasians, and women took longer to find full-time work after injury.

The implication of this research is that women, non-Caucasians, and people with lower levels of education may find themselves at a disadvantage when finding post-injury work. This can result in longer intervals of unemployment, lower earnings, and greater difficulty in paying medical and rehabilitation bills.

Krause JS, Terza JV, Saunders LL, & Dismuke CE. Delayed entry into employment after spinal cord injury: Factors related to time to first job. Spinal Cord. (June 2010).