Empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation

Steven R. Pruett, Elizabeth A. Swett, Fong Chan, David A. Rosenthal, Gloria K. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The evidence-based practice (EBP) movement in medicine has permeated and affected a wide array of health care, social service, and education disciplines including vocational rehabilitation (VR). It is therefore important to review previous VR research in order to determine which topics meet the evidence-based criteria and which topics require additional research. This article introduces the criteria associated with EBP and reviews the literature pertaining to VR in light of these criteria. Specifically, we review rehabilitation outcome literature concerning the efficaciousness of (a) the state-federal VR program, (b) private sector rehabilitation, and (c) community-based rehabilitation. It should be noted that like many human service programs, research in VR has not traditionally employed a randomized clinical trial approach, which is the gold standard for EBP in medicine. However, there are many other types of research that can give information as to the empirical evidence to support the efficacy, clinical utility, and cost effectiveness of VR in returning people with chronic illnesses or disabilities to competitive employment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 May 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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