Vocational Interests by Gender and Race 10 Years After Spinal Cord Injury

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Objective: To examine and compare vocational interests as a function of gender and race among 247 participants with spinal cord injury (SCI) approximately 10 years after SCI onset utilizing the 2004 edition of the Strong Interest Inventory (SII). Research Method: For this cross-sectional analysis nested within a prospective cohort study, data were collected via mail and analyzed at a medical university in the Southeastern United States. Among the 563 adults with traumatic SCI initially enrolled during inpatient rehabilitation at a specialty hospital, 247 met current study eligibility criteria and completed the SII approximately 10 years postinjury. The SII is a 291-item measure of vocational interests. Results: Male participants scored highest on the Realistic theme and females scored highest on the Social theme. White participants scored highest on the Realistic theme, whereas Black participants scored highest on the Conventional theme. Differences in vocational interests by gender were seen on two of the six General Occupational Themes (GOT; Realistic and Social) and 12 of the 30 Basic Interest Scales (BIS). Race differences were observed on the Enterprising and Conventional GOT and 11 of 30 BIS. Conclusions: For both female and Black participants, interests are more physically compatible with employment post-SCI than male and White participants. Yet, employment rates in White males with SCI are greater than those of female and Black individuals with SCI. These data suggest further research on factors influencing gender and racial disparities in employment among those with SCI is indicated.

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