Exploring the factors which influence employment following spinal cord injury in Vietnam: A preliminary qualitative study

Author: Thi Mai Dam

Dam, Thi Mai, 2018 Exploring the factors which influence employment following spinal cord injury in Vietnam: A preliminary qualitative study, Flinders University, College of Nursing and Health Sciences

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Background: Employment plays an important role in not only strengthening the economic situation and quality of life of people with spinal cord injury (SCI) but also promoting adjustment to disability and social inclusion. However, many people with SCI in Vietnam face a range of challenges in gaining and maintaining paid employment. This research aims to explore factors which facilitate and limit paid employment from the perspective of people with SCI in Vietnam.

Methodology: A qualitative approach using a phenomenological research design was chosen to address the research questions. Nine adults with spinal cord injury aged 22 to 35 years were recruited through the support of the Hanoi Association of People with Disabilities. Participants were interviewed via Skype and telephone with a mix of open and closed questions; interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed.

Findings: Factors that facilitated paid employment were: (1) personal factors including self-motivation and self-determination, desire/passion for work, and functional independence; (2) support factors including emotional, physical, and financial support from family, friends, mentors, peers, and self-help groups of people with disabilities; (3) environmental factors including accessibility and accessibility support from colleagues; and (4) workplace factors including job requirements and home-based work. In contrast, barriers included (1) personal factors such as concerns about going out, self-esteem, qualifications; (2) health condition factors such as mobility difficulties, pressure sore issues and bladder and bowel control; (3) family factors; (4) environmental factors such as inaccessible infrastructure, transportation, and workplace, societal stigma and discrimination, vocational training, and employment opportunities; and (5) employer perspective factors such as accommodation, expectations on people with disabilities, and training.

Conclusion: Emerging themes were discussed in relation to the Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems framework for understanding the interaction between people with SCI and socio-cultural and historical context that influences their experiences in gaining and maintaining paid employment. Recommendations for policy and practice and future research were also presented.

Keywords: employment, spinal cord injury, facilitators, barriers, phenomenology

Subject: Disability and Rehabilitation Studies thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2018
School: College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Supervisor: Michelle Bellon