Research Summary

Research Summary: Vocational Rehabilitation Service Patterns and Employment Outcomes for Hispanics with Spinal Cord Injuries

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A Quick Look

This study examined demographic and rehabilitation service variables affecting employment outcomes of people with spinal cord injury who are receiving services from state vocational rehabilitation agencies.

The study will help to determine whether there are disparities in services and outcomes between European American and Hispanic clients.

Key Findings

  • Results indicated that education, on-the-job training, job search assistance, job placement assistance, on-the-job support, maintenance services, assistive technology and other services were significant predictors of successful employment outcomes for individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries.
  • European Americans were more likely to receive assistive technology services.
  • Hispanics were more likely to receive support services related to basic living needs.
  • Minor disparities in case expenditures and service patterns were found between Hispanic and European American clients.
  • Risk factors that significantly lower the odds of employment outcomes are work disincentives, personal attendant services, and miscellaneous training services.
  • It takes Hispanics a significantly longer time to become eligible for VR services.
  • There is a higher propensity for European Americans to receive assistive technology services.

Putting It Into Practice

  • Hispanics seemed to have higher basic service needs, including health care, mental health services, food, shelter, and transportation assistance.
  • Counselors in state VR agencies were able to provide appropriate support services to address the basic survival needs of Hispanic clients with spinal cord injuries as part of their rehabilitation process.
  • The most frequent cause of reported spinal cord injury cases is the result of motor vehicle accidents, followed by falls, acts of violence, and then recreational sporting activities.

Learn More

  • Data for this study was extracted from the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA), Case Service Report (RSA-911) database.
  • Data contains personal history, types of services, and employment outcome information.
  • Conroy, L., & McKenna, K. (1999). Vocational outcome following spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord, 37(9), 624-633.
  • Krause, J. S. (1992). Employment after spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine And Rehabilitation, 73(2), 163-169.


Arango-Lasprilla, J. C.,da Silva C., Wilson, L. M., Romero, M. G., Chan, F., & Sung, C. (2011). Vocational rehabilitation service patterns and employment outcomes for Hispanics with spinal cord injuries. Rehabilitation Research Policy and Education, 25 (3), 149-162. DOI: 10.3233/JVR-160817.

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