Gender, class, employment status and social mobility following spinal cord injury in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSpinal Cord. 2019, 58 224-231. 10.1038/s41393-019-0356-3
Study design: Cross sectional survey of 1055 persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. Objectives: (1) To analyse the employment levels of people of working age with SCI, including possible gender differences. (2) To study the relevance of occupational class before SCI and its impact on employment and occupational class after SCI. Setting Members of national SCI consumer associations. Methods: Employment status and social mobility after SCI was regressed on occupational class before SCI, using multinomial and binary logistic regression analysis of employment, while controlling for other explanatory variables to employment after SCI and demographic characteristics. Results: Employment levels after injury were similar for men and women in each of the four nations, but Dutch women had significantly lower scores on predicted employment than Dutch men. Employment and social mobility trajectories were heavily in favour of middle-class occupations. Gender differences in employment status at the time of study primarily occurred among those in working-class occupations before SCI, with men less likely than women of being non-employed. Working-class men were significantly more likely than working-class women to retain a working-class occupation at the time of study, and although non-significant, to attain a middle-class occupation after SCI. Conclusion: There was little variation in employment by gender within and across countries but significant differences between working-class and middle-class occupations before and after injury. The results suggest that targeted employment measures should be particularly invested in the rehabilitation of women in working-class occupations.