Research Question #1

How did known medical predictors of recovery (e.g., length of unconsciousness) affect outcome as measured by work status?


Work Status of the Participants.

Many survivors reported long periods of inability to work (or attend school) after TBI. See Figure 2.


Figure 2. Time Lost from Work by Survey ParticipantsTime Lost from Work by Survey Participants

The length of time off work after TBI responses indicated that 30% (10 of 30) had stopped working permanently. But a discrepancy existed between this response rate and that of another question which asked whether or not the survivor was not working. To that question 64% (18 out of 28 who answered) responded that they were not now working. (The other two of the thirty were post retirement age.) The discrepancy could be explained in several ways. Firstly, some individuals may have returned to work in the past, but were not currently working. Some may have worked at some time post-TBI, but taken early retirement due to cumulative problems related to their TBI’s. Some survivors may not have been working for other reasons. Also, for some individuals it might have been easier to report that they are not working now then it would have been to admit that they may be permanently unable to work. This is an area that should be researched further.

Thirty percent (10 of 30) of the study participants reported that they had returned to work after TBI. Of these, seven individuals stated that they were working more than twenty-six hours a week; the others were working fewer than twenty-six hours a week. Only four of the participants (14% of the working-age participants) were holding down the same job they had prior to their TBI.


Analysis of Medical Predictors and Work Status.

Based on responses to the current work status question, participants working were placed in the working outcome status. Those not employed were placed in the alternate, not-working outcome status.

Chi square tests were performed to determine whether variables were independent or related to work status. However, accurate mathematical conclusions were not drawn. For example, relationships between work status and length of time in hospital, existence of seizure activity, and brain surgery were not shown. If the chi square tests had been performed on a sample of several hundred, these relationships might have been established, but this was beyond the scope of the present study. The most that can be said in the present study was that statistical analysis of factor frequency distributions between the working and not-working outcome groups was inconclusive. Consequently, the following conclusions related to this sample only and are not generalizable to the TBI population at large.



Outcome appeared to be related to various medical predictors. Higher percentages of the not-working group had longer periods of unconsciousness, longer hospital stays, more brain surgeries, more seizure medication, and more additional (prior) TBI’s than the working group. This conclusion replicates earlier findings. (See Table 2.)

Table 2 Medical Predictors of Recovery and Outcome

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