The diverse vocational experiences of five individuals returning to work after severe brain injury: A qualitative inquiry

Erin J. Bush, Karen Hux, Timothy C. Guetterman, Miechelle McKelvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The researchers explored the return-to-work experiences of five adults with severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and those associated with them by performing a qualitative, multiple case study investigation involving in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Selection of this qualitative methodology allowed for personal, individualized accounts of adults with TBI returning to work. Specifically, this methodology promoted accurate representation of the idiosyncratic nature of each participants experiences.Methods: The researchers asked individuals to participate based on the diversity of their vocational experiences following TBI.Results: Four of the five participants had returned to their pre-injury jobs. Two were subsequently fired and, at the time of research participation, were unemployed. One participant never returned to paid employment; however, he had held two volunteer positions for several years post-injury. Salient content from interview transcripts allowed for the identification of five to eight themes pertinent to each case.Conclusions: Interpretation of the themes led to three main conjectures about return-to-work experiences following TBI: (a) job satisfaction may relate more to involvement in productive activities than monetary compensation; (b) adults with TBI can be successful in holding and maintaining positions with high cognitive demands; and (c) individualized job modifications and strategies are likely necessary for adults with TBI to succeed vocationally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-436
Number of pages15
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 20 2016


  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • multiple case study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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