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Labour market participation among rehabilitated individuals with spinal cord injury in Brazil: a cross-sectional study


Study design

Cross-sectional study.


To document the labour market participation rate and investigate the impact of social and economic characteristics on this outcome among individuals with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D) who participated in a multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme in Brazil.


A specialised rehabilitation centre in southern Brazil.


An interview was performed with former rehabilitation clients with SCI/D. A total of 111 community-dwelling individuals with SCI/D who had been previously rehabilitated in a large regional rehabilitation centre were considered. Employment status and demographic, injury, work, and economic characteristics were self-reported via interview. Descriptive statistical analyses were performed.


The labour market participation rate was 21.6% (24 individuals). Five respondents were employed in formal work activities, and the other 19 were involved in informal activities (self-employed). Since the onset of injury, a shorter time was associated with nonparticipation in occupational work. Individuals with a higher level of education were more likely to be working. Household income was higher among the participants who had returned to work than among those who had not returned.


There is a relatively low labour market participation rate among rehabilitated individuals with SCI/D in southern Brazil. The rehabilitation services should emphasise vocational training, access to education, and employment support for individuals with SCI/D from early onset after the injury. Public policies must be revised to support labour market participation among individuals with SCI/D in Brazil.

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Data availability

The data will be available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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We are grateful to all participants of the study for their time. We also thank the personnel of the Centro Catarinense de Reabilitação for being helpful with participants’ records.


This study was carried out with the support of the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq; Brazil) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa e Inovação do Estado de Santa Catarina (TO2019TR767; FAPESC; Brazil).

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Authors and Affiliations



ADT, TCSL, SPBON, FF, CM-V, SMFV, JMS, NG, RGN, DAC and NAA contributed to the study conceptualisation and design. ADT, TCSL, SPBON, JMS, NG, DAC and NAA contributed to the data collection. ADT, TCSL and JI contributed to the data analysis. ADT and JI contributed to the data interpretation and writing of the report. SPBON, FF, CM-V, SMFV and RGN provided feedback on the report.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Adriana D. Tholl.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Tholl, A.D., Lima, T.C.S., Nogueira, S.P.B.O. et al. Labour market participation among rehabilitated individuals with spinal cord injury in Brazil: a cross-sectional study. Spinal Cord (2022).

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