Digital public defence: Emilie Isager Howe

Cand.psych. Emilie Isager Howe at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis Return to work after traumatic brain injury: A randomised controlled trial, long-term employment probability and predictors of employment status for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

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Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.


Digital trial lecture - time and place

See digital trial lecture

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Senior Consultant Catharina Nygren Deboussard, Rehabiliteringsmedicinska Universitetskliniken, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Second opponent: Senior Researcher Trine Schow, BOMI, Roskilde, Denmark
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor II Bjørnar Hassel, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo

Chair of defence

Professor II Pål Aksel Næss, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal supervisor

Professor II Nada Andelic, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may lead to impairments affecting the ability to return to work and to maintain stable employment. While employment participation has been identified as a key goal for rehabilitation, limited knowledge exists regarding long-term work outcomes and the most effective approaches to improve vocational outcomes after TBI. 

The aims of this thesis were to investigate: 1) the feasibility of delivering a manual-based compensatory cognitive rehabilitation intervention to individuals with mild and moderate TBI in Norway in preparation for a larger scale randomized controlled trial, 2) the effectiveness of a combined cognitive and vocational intervention compared to treatment as usual on employment outcomes after mild and moderate TBI, and 3) long-term employment probability and associated predictors up to 10 years after moderate and severe TBI.

The compensatory cognitive training intervention demonstrated satisfactory acceptability and was found feasible in a Norwegian civilian sample with TBI. Compared to those who received treatment as usual, a larger proportion of individuals who received the combined cognitive and vocational intervention had returned to work 3 months following study inclusion. However, both groups showed improvement on vocational outcomes, and there was no difference between the groups at 6 months. Employment probability remained stable at approximately 50% up to a decade after moderate and severe TBI, and could be predicted by injury severity and certain sociodemographic characteristics at the time of injury.

The findings demonstrate that interventions which include collaboration between healthcare and employment services may positively influence employment outcomes after TBI. Moreover, the importance of providing regular follow-up to individuals at-risk of long-term unemployment after TBI is underlined.

Additional information

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Published Jan. 26, 2021 10:00 AM - Last modified Feb. 10, 2021 11:37 AM