Vocational Outcomes of Service Members and Veterans after Traumatic Brain Injury: A Scoping Review

Michael V. Nguyen, Dawn E. Hackman, Anjali R. Truitt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this scoping review was to evaluate the current literature related to vocational outcomes among US service members and veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Methods: Seven research databases (Ovid MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, CINAHL Plus, Cochrane Library, Scopus, and SPORTDiscus) were queried for human studies between the database inception and February, 2020. We included studies that focused on US service members and veterans who sustained a TBI and their vocational outcomes. Conference abstracts, systematic reviews, literature reviews, editorials, consensus reports, commentaries, dissertations, and qualitative studies were excluded. Two rounds of independent reviews were performed. Details of study design, intervention, and vocational outcomes were recorded. Results: The search yielded 5667 articles; 48 articles met inclusion criteria. Forty-three studies were observational (90%), and 5 were randomized controlled trials. A majority of interventions were in the outpatient setting (71%). Interventions related to return to work and duty utilized physical therapy and occupational therapy to address cognitive skills and functional deficits and provide supportive employment. Conclusion: Community reintegration research among service members and veterans with brain injuries is underdeveloped. Because of heterogeneity of severity and smaller sample sizes, no consensus was reached on interventions that improve vocational outcomes. Evidence thus far suggests that future studies should incorporate an interdisciplinary team approach beyond physical therapy and occupational therapy, longer-term outcomes, and sample subgroups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E467-E487
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • military personnel
  • return to duty
  • return to work
  • scoping review
  • traumatic brain injury
  • veterans

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Review
  • Journal Article


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