Investigating employment following spinal cord injury: outcomes, methods, and population demographics
J Bloom, P Dorsett, V McLennan
Purpose: The purpose of this review was to synthesize the literature about spinal cord injury and employment, focusing on sample demographics, indicators of employment outcome, and the methods used. The review included literature from the previous decade; 2006–2017.
Methods: A systematic quantitative literature review methodology was utilized, wherein papers’ characteristics were extracted and categorized in a database according to their topics, employment outcome indicators, populations, locations, and methods. Frequency tables were generated and cross-tabulated to yield conclusions about the outcomes of the studies and the methods and samples used to yield these outcomes.
Results: The review highlighted three key themes; the emergence of broader employment outcome measures that go beyond employment rate; a lack of consistency in the reporting of sample characteristics such as time since injury or ethnicity; and the relative lack of research focusing on people with newly acquired spinal cord injury.
Conclusions: The literature review identified a number of limitations in the existing research including the lack of standardized reporting of employment outcomes and a need for increased consistency in reporting sample characteristics. In addition, there are gaps in the research about people with newly acquired spinal cord injury, particularly regarding the timing of interventions.