Ethnicity/racial differences in employment outcomes following Spinal Cord Injury

Juan Carlos Arango-Lasprilla, Jessica M. Ketchum, Lillian Flores Stevens, Fabricio Balcazar, Paul Wehman, Lauren Forster, Nansy Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine differences in employment outcomes among Hispanics and Caucasians with Spinal Cord Injuries at one year post-injury. Design: Retrospective study. Setting: Longitudinal dataset of the SCI Model Systems. Participants: 11,424 Individuals diagnosed with spinal cord injury (1369 Hispanics and 10055 Caucasians) that were enrolled in the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) database and interviewed during their scheduled one-year post-injury follow-up evaluation between 1975 and 2006. Main Outcome Measures: Employment status (competitively employed, unemployed and other). Results: After adjusting for age, gender, marital status, education level, employment status at admissions, cause of injury, category of neuro-impairment, and ASIA impairment scale, race/ethnicity has a significant effect on employment status at 1 year post-injury. Specifically, the odds of unemployment versus employment were 1.864 times greater for Hispanics than for Caucasians (95% CI = 1.478, 2.349) and the odds of unemployment versus other were 1.980 times greater for Hispanics than for Caucasians (95% CI = 1.625, 2.413). Conclusions: Racial disparities do exist in successful employment after 1 year post SCI, particularly between Caucasians and Hispanics. Future research should focus on what factors contribute to this disparity, along with forming new education and rehabilitation strategies to improve return-to-work outcomes for Hispanics after SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • And employment
  • Minorities
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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