The contribution of aptitude testing to the vocational rehabilitation of adults with traumatic brain injuries




Lacroix, Jocelyne

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Neuropsychologists are asked to provide information regarding a person's ability to work following a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The tests used by Neuropsychologists were not constructed to identify specific abilities required for successful job performance. The lack of criterion-related validity information makes it difficult to relate data obtained from neurospychological tests to specific occupations (Clemmons, 1985; Heaton & Chelune, 1978; Prigatano et al. 1986). This presents serious limitations for vocational assessment and rehabilitation of persons with traumatic brain injuries. The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB) is the vocational aptitude battery most widely used in vocational assessment. The GATB's relationship to work demands makes it the most practical assessment tool available for job screening and matching. Interpretive data for the GATB with persons with brain damage are scant (Clemmons, 1985; Cole, 1984). The person's ability to work following a traumatic brain injury results from the interaction between their abilities/disabilities and demands of occupations. Research in neuropsychology related to the vocational abilities of brain-injured individuals has centered on measuring the person's incapacity. This research investigates the GATB as an aptitude test battery for use with individuals with brain injuries and its usefulness for job matching with this population. The relationship between the person's measured aptitudes (GATB) and aptitude demands of occupations (PAQ) is examined. This is referred to as the person-job fit measure. The GATB was administered to sixty (60) individuals with TBI. The Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ) was used to analyze participants' occupations. It provides an estimate of the GATB aptitude scores of incumbents successfully performing the position analyzed, that is, the aptitude demands of the job. Two categories of occupations were analysed: "Can do": Occupations participants have the ability to perform, including positions currently held and jobs they have held since being injured and are no longer performing for reasons unrelated to the brain injury; and "Cannot do": occupations participants are unable to return to, or were unable to maintain for reasons related to the brain injury. Occupations were considered only if the person's ability or inability to do the job could be verified with the employer, co-worker(s), or the professionals who assessed her (his) vocational potential. The structure of the GATB was investigated first with a large sample of regular job applicants and the confirmed structure was verified with the study sample. The GATB performance of this group of persons with TBI was examined. Lastly, the ability of the measure of person-job fit to correctly classify participants by job category was analyzed. The results confirmed that the eight GATB aptitudes can be regrouped into three composites. Although this is useful for some applications, for the clinical intervention in a vocational rehabilitation process, the use of all eight GATB aptitudes is recommended. The GATB scores of participants in this study tended to be lower than the General Working Population on many of the GATB aptitudes. This reinforces the need for vocational rehabilitation intervention to help brain-injured persons enter or reenter the work force. Results indicated that the measure of person-job fit using the GATB in conjunction with the PAQ provided a good indicator of that person's ability or inability to do a specific job. The person-job fit measures obtained from the GATB cognitive and perceptual aptitude composites are the best predictors of ability to work with this sample. The usefulness of the GATB motor aptitude and composite is questionable.



Ability, Testing, Vocational rehabilitation, Brain damage