Content » Vol 37, Issue 4

Occupational disorders and return to work: a randomized controlled study

Jens Peter Bonde A1, Mette Skou Rasmussen A1, Henrik Hjøllund A1, Susanne Wulf Svendsen A1, Henrik A. Kolstad A1, Lone Donbæk Jensen A1, Joanna Wieclaw A1
A1 From the Department of Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
DOI: 10.1080/16501970410025487

Abstract

Objective: Goal setting and motivational factors are strongly associated with maintaining a job and return to work after sick leave, but research into the effects of interventions targeting these factors is limited. We conducted a randomized controlled study to examine the vocational effect of intervention focusing on motivation, goal setting and planning for return to work.Design and methods: Of 243 patients at risk of long-term sick leave or job dropout, 184 (76%) provided complete baseline information for the study. After randomization to an intervention group (n=92) and a reference group (n=92), occupational physicians examined the participants in accordance with standard guidelines. The intervention group received additional support from a social worker in order to enhance goal setting, motivation and planning for return to work. After 1 year 163 participants (89%) provided data on general health and employment status. The risk of not being gainfully employed was analysed by logistic regression analysis with adjustment for several covariates.Results: The intervention did not increase the likelihood of gainful employment after 1 year or reduce the average number of days of sick leave.Conclusion: A low-cost counselling program addressing motivation, goal setting and planning for return to work did not improve vocational outcomes or reduce sick leave among patients with work-related disorders.

Lay Abstract

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