Employment Stability in Veterans and Service Members With Traumatic Brain Injury: A Veterans Administration Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Study

Christina Dillahunt-Aspillaga, Mary Jo Pugh, Bridget A. Cotner, Marc A. Silva, Adam Haskin, Xinyu Tang, Marie E. Saylors, Risa Nakase-Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine incidence and predictors of employment stability in veterans and military service members with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who return to work. Design: Prospective observational cohort study. Setting: Four rehabilitation centers. Participants: Veterans and military service members (N=110) with mild (26%), moderate (22%), or severe (52%) TBI enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers TBI Model Systems database within 2 years of injury who were discharged between January 2009 and June 2015. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measure: Employment stability as reflected by competitive employment at 1- and/or 2-year follow-up. Results: Over half (n=61, 55%) of the participants had stable employment at the time the first competitive employment date was recorded. Individuals with stable employment were more likely to be white (79%) and to have slightly higher cognitive and motor discharge scores on the FIM. Based on univariate analysis, more severe TBI and higher FIM motor scores at discharge were significantly associated with employment stability. At follow-up, compared with veterans and military service members who had unstable employment, those with stable employment had higher scores on motor and cognitive FIM and lower scores of self-report symptoms on the Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory, the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire-Depression, the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire, and the PTSD Checklist-Civilian version. Conclusions: A number of unique factors affect employment stability in veterans and military service members with TBI. Study findings identify veterans and military service members who have stable employment and predictors of employment stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Brain injuries, traumatic
  • Employment
  • Rehabilitation
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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