Presentation T P1

T P1 (Poster Presentation):
Comparing spinal cord injury (SCI) work disability across the life course: Findings from a Canadian community-based survey

Presented by: Arif Jetha


Jetha A1, Dumont F2, Noreau L2,3

  1. Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety
  2. Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration
  3. Université Laval



In Canada, the impact of SCI has shifted from younger to middle-/older-aged adults. Yet, little research has examined work disability across the life course.This study compares differences in work disability between younger- (ages 18 to 30 years), middle- (ages 30-55 years) and older-aged adults (ages 56 years < ) with SCI; and examines factors that may be associated with work disability at the different life phases.


As part of a Canada-wide SCI community survey, information on demographic (e.g., age, gender, living situation), health (e.g. self-reported health and SF-12 physical and mental component scores), injury characteristics (e.g. cause of injury, injury-level), number of domains in which a person participates (e.g. leisure, employment, volunteering) and pre- and post-injury employment status were collected. Separate multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted for each life phase and findings were compared.


Over thirteen hundred adult respondents with SCI (N = 1,366) completed the survey. A majority were middle- (53%) and older-aged adults (38%). Most had traumatic injuries (73%) and half were paraplegic (54.3%). Participants also reported low physical health (Mean score = 33.5 out of 100). Employment declined post-injury for middle (82% to 26%), older (66% to 11%) and young adults (36% to 19%). Young adults living with another person were less likely to report post-injury work disability (OR = .27, 95% CI, 0.08, .93). In comparison, better physical health was associated with less work disability for middle- (OR = .94, 95%CI .91, .96) and older-aged adults (OR = .94, 95%CI .93, .99).


SCI is a significant cause of work disability across the life course. Highlighting the role of supportive relationships, living with another person may provide assistance with daily routines and self-management, allowing young adults to balance health and work at the early phase of their career. For middle- and older-aged adults with SCI, minimizing physical barriers and improving physical function may assist in reducing work disability in later life phases.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
12:45 - 13:45 Poster Viewing
Session: Social issues