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Stability of Employment Over the First 3 Years Following Traumatic Brain Injury

Ponsford, Jennie L. BA (Hons), MA (Clin Neuropsych), PhD; Spitz, Gershon BA (Hons), PhD

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: May/June 2015 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p E1–E11
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000033
Original Articles

Objective: To examine the stability of employment between 1 and 3 years following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to identify the variables associated with continued employment throughout this time span.

Participants: This study included 236 individuals with predominantly moderate to very severe TBI, who had received rehabilitation in the context of a no-fault accident compensation system. Participants were eligible for the current study if they were employed before injury and reported their employment status at 1, 2, and 3 years following their injury as part of a longitudinal head injury outcome study.

Results: Only 44% of participants remained employed at each of the 3 years following TBI. There was also substantial transition into and out of employment across the 3 years. Significantly greater instability in employment was reported by individuals who were machinery operators or laborers before injury, had a longer duration of posttraumatic amnesia, reported more cognitive difficulties, and were less mobile 1 year following their injury.

Conclusion: A number of important factors determine the likelihood of achieving stability in employment following TBI. Findings from the current study support the continued need to identify ways in which physical as well as cognitive changes contribute to employment following TBI. Further examination is needed to identify possible compensatory strategies or job modifications to maximize the likelihood of job retention.

School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, and Monash-Epworth Rehabilitation Research Centre, Epworth Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Corresponding Author: Jennie L. Ponsford, BA (Hons), MA (Clin Neuropsych), PhD, School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Bldg 17, Clayton Campus, Wellington Rd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3800 (

This project is funded by the Transport Accident Commission, through the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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