Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 134–146 | Cite as

A Systematic Review of Functioning in Vocational Rehabilitation Using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

  • Reuben Escorpizo
  • Monika E. Finger
  • Andrea Glässel
  • Felix Gradinger
  • Miriam Lückenkemper
  • Alarcos Cieza


Background: Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is aimed at engaging or re-engaging individuals with work participation and employment. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) by the World Health Organization can be operationalized in the context of VR. The objective of this study is to review the literature to identify outcomes or measures being used in VR using a systematic review methodology and link those measures to the ICF. Methods: We applied a structured search strategy using multiple databases. Items or constructs of the measures or outcomes identified were linked to the ICF by two trained individuals. Results: We have identified 648 measures which contained 10,582 concepts that were linked to the ICF which resulted in 87 second-level ICF categories. Out of the 87 categories, 31 (35.6%) were related to body functions, 43 (49.4%) were related to activities and participation, and 13 (14.9%) were related to environmental factors. No category was related to body structures. Conclusions: Our review found great diversity in the ICF contents of the measures used in different VR settings and study populations, which indicates the complexity of VR. This systematic review has provided a list of ICF categories which could be considered towards a successful VR.


ICF Vocational rehabilitation Review Work Employment Outcomes assessment 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Teresa Brinkel, Anne-Katrin Brust, Kathrin Ecker, and Wolfgang Segerer for providing technical consultation and help during the conduct of the study. Special thanks to Cristina Bostan, who is supported by a Marie Curie Fellowship from the EU funded project MURINET, the ICF Research Branch and the Swiss Paraplegic Research in Nottwil, Switzerland. This project was funded by the Swiss Accident Insurance Company (SUVA).

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reuben Escorpizo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Monika E. Finger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Andrea Glässel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Felix Gradinger
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miriam Lückenkemper
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alarcos Cieza
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF)NottwilSwitzerland
  2. 2.ICF Research Branch in cooperation with the WHO Collaborating Centre for the Family of International Classifications in Germany (at DIMDI)NottwilSwitzerland
  3. 3.Rehaklinik BellikonBellikonSwitzerland
  4. 4.Institute for Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Research Unit for Biopsychosocial HealthLudwig-Maximilians UniversitätMunichGermany
  5. 5.Department of Health Sciences and Health PolicyUniversity of LucerneLucerneSwitzerland

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