Neurocognitive Status and Return to Work After Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Tessa Hart, Jessica M. Ketchum, Therese M. O'Neil-Pirozzi, Thomas A. Novack, Doug Johnson-Greene, Kristen Dams-O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose/Objective: To examine the relationship of cognitive status to employment outcomes at 1-year post moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), using a brief telephone-administered instrument. Research Method/Design: Prospective longitudinal study in which 320 people with moderate-severe TBI, all employed at injury, were enrolled during inpatient rehabilitation and evaluated at 1-year postinjury. Follow-up measures included whether and when participants had returned to work (RTW), and cognitive status assessed with the Brief Test of Adult Cognition by Telephone (BTACT). Multivariable logistic regression and survival analyses were used to assess the contribution of BTACT (overall and subscale scores) to employment outcomes, controlling for covariates with known associations to those outcomes, including demographic variables, injury severity, and driving status. Results: Fewer than 40% of participants (n = 124) were employed at 1-year follow-up. BTACT scores were strongly associated with RTW even after controlling for known covariates. Females had faster and higher rates of RTW compared to males. Resumption of driving and injury severity were also related to RTW. Conclusions/Implications: Neurocognitive status is a potentially modifiable factor with an important relationship to RTW following TBI. Vocational rehabilitation efforts should provide cognitive remediation or compensation as well as addressing transportation barriers. As a brief telephone-based assessment, the BTACT offers a new and efficient tool for evaluation of episodic memory and executive function.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2019


  • Telephone assessment
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Vocational outcomes
  • Vocational rehabilitation


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