Development of work participation in young adults with cerebral palsy: A longitudinal study
Joan A. C. Verhoef, Inge Bramsen, Harald S. Miedema, Henk J. Stam, Marij E. Roebroeck & The Transition and Lifespan
Research Group South West Netherlands
Erasmus University Medical Center, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine , Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Research Centre Innovations in Care, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: J.A.C.Verhoef@hr.nl
Objective: To document the development of work participation in young adults with cerebral palsy who are transitioning into adulthood, examine associated characteristics, and investigate work limitations and barriers among employed persons.
Design: Observational longitudinal cohort study.
Subjects: Seventy-four young adults with cerebral palsy of average intelligence, aged 16–20 years at baseline.
Methods: Work participation in 3 categories (employed, unemployed, studying) was assessed at baseline, 2-year and 4-year follow-ups using structured interviews. At 4-year follow-up, associations of work participation with demographic and clinical characteristics were examined using multinomial logistic regression. Work limitations and barriers among employed persons were evaluated using questionnaires.
Results: From age range 16–20 years to age range 20–24 years the proportions of subjects who were employed and unemployed increased from 12% to 49% and 3% to 17%, respectively; the proportion who were students decreased from 85% to 34%. In the age range 20–24 years, the employment rate of young adults with cerebral palsy was lower and the unemployment rate higher, than that of the general population. A lower level of gross motor function and younger age were associated with unemployment. Employed persons experienced few work limitations; 28% experienced situational or health barriers.
Conclusion: Young adults with cerebral palsy and average intelligence are at risk of experiencing unfavourable developments in work participation. Rehabilitation services should offer support to prevent unemployment and occupational disability.
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