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Income and Employment Status One Year after Brain Injury

Categories: Employment

The Question

How is an individual’s income and employment status affected one year after experiencing a brain injury?

Past Studies

Past Studies have not examined long-term income loss or the amount of public assistance received by persons with traumatic brain injury. Past researchers have determined that individuals with traumatic brain injuries have significant difficulties re-entering the workforce.

This Study

This Study analyzed information collected from 35 people who experienced a traumatic brain injury. Data about employment, income, and government assistance was gathered at the time of injury and one year later. The researchers concluded that after one year, the number of people who were working decreased by 55% and the number of people without jobs increased by 425%. It appeared that persons who had difficulties working before experiencing a traumatic brain injury continued to have difficulties afterward. There was a 350% increase in the number of participants receiving public assistance and a 275% increase in the amount of public assistance received. The average annual individual earned income for the group at the time of injury was $17,894 and decreased by more than 50% to $8,709 a year after the injury. This private income, combined with $5,502 from public assistance amounted to an average yearly income of $13,761 one-year after injury.

Who May Be Affected By These Findings

Persons with brain injuries and their dependents, case managers/social workers, healthcare providers, policymakers


This study is based on a small number of people from one geographic region in the United States; therefore, the results may not be generalizable to the entire population of persons with brain injuries in the United States. In this study, the average yearly income pre-injury was less than the average U.S. annual income. Further research may determine if there is a relationship between a less than average pre-injury annual income and the incidence of traumatic brain injury.

Bottom Line

These results are consistent with previous studies, which indicate that individuals with traumatic brain injuries experience difficulty obtaining employment during the first year following injury and that as limited financial resources decrease, the number of public assistance increases.

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Find This Study

Johnstone, B.; Mount, D.; & Schopp, L. H. (2003). Financial and vocational outcomes one year after traumatic brain injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, (84), 238-241.