Return to Work and Social Communication Ability Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Purpose Return to competitive employment presents a major challenge to adults who survive traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study was undertaken to better understand factors that shape employment outcome by comparing the communication profiles and self-awareness of communication deficits of adults who return to and maintain employment with those who ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2016
Return to Work and Social Communication Ability Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jacinta M. Douglas
    La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
    Summer Foundation, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia
  • Christine A. Bracy
    La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
  • Pamela C. Snow
    La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Jacinta Douglas: J.Douglas@latrobe.edu.au
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Jessica Richardson
    Associate Editor: Jessica Richardson×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Traumatic Brain Injury / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2016
Return to Work and Social Communication Ability Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2016, Vol. 59, 511-520. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-0025
History: Received January 26, 2015 , Revised July 11, 2015 , Accepted November 5, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2016, Vol. 59, 511-520. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-0025
History: Received January 26, 2015; Revised July 11, 2015; Accepted November 5, 2015

Purpose Return to competitive employment presents a major challenge to adults who survive traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study was undertaken to better understand factors that shape employment outcome by comparing the communication profiles and self-awareness of communication deficits of adults who return to and maintain employment with those who do not.

Method Forty-six dyads (46 adults with TBI, 46 relatives) were recruited into 2 groups based on the current employment status (employed or unemployed) of participants with TBI. Groups did not differ in regard to sex, age, education, preinjury employment, injury severity, or time postinjury. The La Trobe Communication Questionnaire (Douglas, O'Flaherty, & Snow, 2000) was used to measure communication. Group comparisons on La Trobe Communication Questionnaire scores were analyzed by using mixed 2 × 2 analysis of variance (between factor: employment status; within factor: source of perception).

Results Analysis yielded a significant group main effect (p = .002) and a significant interaction (p = .004). The employed group reported less frequent difficulties (self and relatives). Consistent with the interaction, unemployed participants perceived themselves to have less frequent difficulties than their relatives perceived, whereas employed participants reported more frequent difficulties than their relatives.

Conclusion Communication outcome and awareness of communication deficits play an important role in reintegration to the workplace following TBI.

Acknowledgments
Our thanks to those who generously participated in this study. The La Trobe Communication Questionnaire was developed by the authors of this research article and is available for clinical and research use from the first author.
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