Content » Vol 46, Issue 7

Original report

Development of work participation in young adults with cerebral palsy: A longitudinal study

Joan A. C. Verhoef, Inge Bramsen, Harald S. Miedema, Henk J. Stam, Marij E. Roebroeck & The Transition and Lifespan Research Group South West Netherlands
Erasmus University Medical Center, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine , Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Research Centre Innovations in Care, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1832


Objective: To document the development of work participation in young adults with cerebral palsy who are transitioning into adulthood, examine associated characteristics, and investigate work limitations and barriers among employed persons.
Design: Observational longitudinal cohort study.
Subjects: Seventy-four young adults with cerebral palsy of average intelligence, aged 16–20 years at baseline.
Methods: Work participation in 3 categories (employed, unemployed, studying) was assessed at baseline, 2-year and 4-year follow-ups using structured interviews. At 4-year follow-up, associations of work participation with demographic and clinical characteristics were examined using multinomial logistic regression. Work limitations and barriers among employed persons were evaluated using questionnaires.
Results: From age range 16–20 years to age range 20–24 years the proportions of subjects who were employed and unemployed increased from 12% to 49% and 3% to 17%, respectively; the proportion who were students decreased from 85% to 34%. In the age range 20–24 years, the employment rate of young adults with cerebral palsy was lower and the unemployment rate higher, than that of the general population. A lower level of gross motor function and younger age were associated with unemployment. Employed persons experienced few work limitations; 28% experienced situational or health barriers.
Conclusion: Young adults with cerebral palsy and average intelligence are at risk of experiencing unfavourable developments in work participation. Rehabilitation services should offer support to prevent unemployment and occupational disability.

Lay Abstract


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