Brain Injury May Hurt Job Prospects of U.S. Veterans

Brain Injury May Hurt Job Prospects of U.S. Veterans

Brain Injury May Hurt Job Prospects of U.S. Veterans

Employment gap widens over time, study finds

SOURCE: American Headache Society, news release, June 17, 2015

WEDNESDAY, June 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Finding a job can be difficult for U.S. veterans who suffered a brain injury while deployed in recent wars, a new study finds.

For the study, researchers compared 67 veterans who had suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan with 67 veterans without such injuries (the "control" group).

"In addition to the medical and headache aspects that traumatic brain injury produces, we sought to determine if [this type of] injury produces psychosocial problems that may impair employment and marital relationships," study author Dr. James Couch, of the University of Oklahoma Medical School in Oklahoma City, said in a news release from the American Headache Society.

Marriage rates in both groups were similar, but those in the brain injury group were much less likely to have jobs, the investigators found.

Two to seven years after suffering their head injury, nearly 36 percent of veterans with traumatic brain injury were unemployed, compared with about 10 percent of those in the control group. After eight to 11 years, that gap widened to 50 percent and about 7 percent, respectively, the study found.

The findings were scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the American Headache Society annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about traumatic brain injury.

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