Marital formation in individuals with work-related permanent impairment
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BACKGROUND: Prior studies on the impact of disabling work injury have neglected social support as a key mediating factor. This study investigates how permanent impairment from a work injury affects marital formation, an indicator of social support and integration with the potential to affect psychosocial adjustment and the resumption of productive social roles following work injury. HYPOTHESES: Adjusting for socio-demographic and economic factors associated with marriage ability, we expect that individuals with a work-related permanent impairment will have a lower rate of marital formation compared to their non-injured counterparts. METHODS: Drawing on a linkage of workers' compensation claims data with income tax information, we undertake a duration modeling analysis comparing workers who have sustained a workplace injury with a matched sample of non-injured controls to examine time to marital formation in each group. RESULTS: Women who suffered a disabling work injury were 17% less likely to marry relative to controls. High levels of physical impairment reduced the rate of marriage in women by 22%. We did not find an effect of impairment on marriage probability in models adjusted for income in men. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore the importance of examining the social and interpersonal consequences of work injury, factors not currently addressed by the occupational rehabilitation system.
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