Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 53 Number 3, 2016
   Pages 307 — 320

Abstract — Enhanced vocational rehabilitation for Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury and mental illness: Pilot study

Maureen K. O'Connor, PsyD;1–2* Lisa Mueller, PhD;1 Eunice Kwon, PhD;1 Charles E. Drebing, PhD;1 Ashley A. O'Connor, MSW;1 Alicia Semiatin, PsyD;1 Shihwe Wang, PhD;1 Ryan Daley, BA1

1Veterans Integrated Service Network 1 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Department of Psychology, Bedford Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bedford, MA; 2Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA

Abstract — Work plays a significant role in how people identify themselves, and successful return to work is associated with significant psychological and rehabilitative benefits. Unfortunately, despite the many benefits of employment, Veterans who experience mild traumatic brain injury and have mental health issues often have significant difficulty getting their vocational needs met. Considering that a consistent relationship between cognitive dysfunction and difficulties with employability has been firmly established, cognitive rehabilitation may enhance engagement in vocational rehabilitation and return to work outcomes. In this pilot study, we evaluated a 12 wk cognitive rehabilitation intervention embedded within vocational rehabilitation services. Eighteen Veterans were randomly assigned to receive either the embedded cognitive rehabilitation intervention (n = 10) or a control condition offering supportive client-centered therapy that did not focus on employment or cognitive rehabilitation (n = 8); all Veterans (intervention and control groups) received vocational rehabilitation services. This pilot feasibility study demonstrated efficient implementation of an embedded cognitive rehabilitation intervention within vocational rehabilitation. The current pilot data revealed small to moderate effect sizes on employment outcomes. Given these preliminary findings, a larger outcome study is warranted.

Key words: cognitive rehabilitation, compensated work therapy, competitive employment, mental illness, mild traumatic brain injury, OIF/OEF, supported employment, Veterans, vocational rehabilitation, transitional work experience.

View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 53, No.3

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
O'Connor MK, Mueller L, Kwon E, Drebing CE, O'Connor AA, Semiatin A, Wang S, Daley R. Enhanced vocational rehabilitation for Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury and mental illness: Pilot study. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(3):307–20.

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Last Reviewed or Updated  Tuesday, May 10, 2016 11:09 AM

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