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Thesis

Employer perceptions of the difficulties faced by employees with traumatic brain injury

20 July 2012

Abstract

It is estimated that 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) annually, and because survival rates after injury have dramatically increased due to medical advancements, patients are anticipated to have long life expectancies, giving rise to concerns of employability after recovery. Negative attitudes, lack of knowledge regarding TBI disability, fear of high costs, and lack of appropriate accommodations have all contributed significantly to the unemployment and underemployment of individuals with TBI who desire to work. Researchers have investigated various qualitative and quantitative aspects of return to work following TBI, identifying numerous variables that may influence whether an individual successfully regains employment. However, researchers have inadequately explored employers’ perceptions of the barriers to employment faced by individuals with TBI. The purpose of this survey study was to gather qualitative information from human resource managers across the United States regarding their opinions of the difficulties still facing individuals with TBI in today’s workforce, determine what accommodations are currently available, and what accommodations are still needed for this employee population. Results indicate that most companies are not meeting accommodation requirements for employees with TBI, and that the most employers have not had any experience in working with or assisting individuals with TBI. Implications are discussed and recommendations for future research are offered.


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