The Effect of Employment on Quality of Life and Community Integration after Traumatic Brain Injury

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Abstract

Objectives:

To investigate the effect of employment on perceived quality of life (QOL), social integration, and home and leisure activities for individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Design:

A number of demographic and injury-related variables (age at injury, time since injury, severity of injury, education, gender, preinjury household income, and marital status) were analyzed for their association first with employment and then with the QOL, social integration, and home and leisure activities. Any of these variables showing significant associations were then included along with level of employment in three final multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVAs), again predicting QOL, social integration, and home and leisure activities.

Setting:

Urban, suburban, and rural New York state.

Participants

337 adults with TBI who resided in New York state and were between the ages of 18 and 65 years.

Main Outcome Measures:

The Craig Handicap Assessment Capacity Technique, the Bigelow Quality of Life Questionnaire, the Flanagan Scale of Needs (adapted), and a global QOL measure.

Results:

Employment showed a strong and consistent relationship with perceived QOL, social integration within the community, and home and leisure activities. Part-time employment may have been superior to full-time employment for individuals with TBI: part-time workers had fewer unmet needs, were more socially integrated, and were more engaged in home activities than full-time workers. Loss of consciousness, as a measure of severity, was unexpectedly predictive of diminished sense of QOL for individuals with less severe injuries.

Conclusions:

Being employed contributes to one's sense of well-being, social integration, and pursuit of leisure and home activities. Select advantages of working part-time for individuals with TBI were identified.

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