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WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation is an interdisciplinary, international journal which publishes high quality peer-reviewed manuscripts covering the entire scope of the occupation of work. The journal's subtitle has been deliberately laid out: The first goal is the prevention of illness, injury, and disability. When this goal is not achievable, the attention focuses on assessment to design client-centered intervention, rehabilitation, treatment, or controls that use scientific evidence to support best practice.
WORK occasionally publishes thematic issues, but in general, issues cover a wide range of topics such as ergonomic considerations with children, youth and students, the challenges facing an aging workforce, workplace violence, injury management, performing artists, ergonomic product evaluations, and the awareness of the political, cultural, and environmental determinants of health related to work.
Dr. Karen Jacobs, the founding editor, and her editorial board especially encourage the publication of research studies, clinical practice, case study reports, as well as personal narratives and critical reflections of lived work experiences (autoethnographic/autobiographic scholarship),
Sounding Board commentaries and
Speaking of Research articles which provide the foundation for better understanding research to facilitate knowledge dissemination.
Narrative Reflections on Occupational Transitions, a new column, is for persons who have successfully transitioned into, between, or out of occupations to tell their stories in a narrative form. With an internationally renowned editorial board,
WORK maintains high standards in the evaluation and publication of manuscripts. All manuscripts are reviewed expeditiously and published in a timely manner.
WORK prides itself on being an author-friendly journal.
WORK celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015.
*WORK is affiliated with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT)* *WORK is endorsed by the International Ergonomics Association (IEA)* *WORK gives out the yearly Cheryl Bennett Best Paper Award*
Abstract: Demographic and legislative trends suggest that many older workers may remain at work past the traditional retirement age. This extended work trajectory poses new challenges and opportunities for workers with acquired hearing loss as they age. Workplaces require a new approach to enable transitions of older workers with hearing loss to remain safe and productive. A review of the literature on older workers, those with hearing loss, and strategies used to accommodate them suggests that individualized…and piecemeal approaches are predominant. While universal design represents a fresh ideology that may help create more accessible and usable products and environments, its application to improve workplaces for older workers with hearing loss is limited. This paper proposes that occupational science be integrated with knowledge in hearing sciences, accessibility, and usability to assist with the transitions faced by older workers with hearing loss. A more comprehensive approach including the following three key components will be posited to examine the nexus of aging, hearing loss and work: (1) the use of an occupational perspective, along with concepts in hearing sciences to examine hearing demands and improve hearing access; (2) the use of contextual processes to promote physical and social change, and (3) the inclusion of Universal Design for Hearing (UDH) considerations as stakeholders develop more hearing friendly workplaces.
Abstract: Increasingly, `productive aging' is promoted within government policies and reports in several Western nations, as well as those of international organizations. The ways in which `productive aging' comes to be shaped within texts, that is, its discursive shaping, influences what aging individuals view as possible and ideal ways to be and do in later life, as well as what collectivities view as required services and programs to support such identities and occupations. Drawing on governmentality theory,…in concert with occupational science, a critical discourse analysis of 72 Canadian newspaper articles pertaining to work and retirement published in 2006 was conducted to examine how 'productive aging' is shaped within such print media texts and the possibilities for identity and occupation promoted. This work critically analyzes ways 'later life workers' have come to be discursively shaped within neoliberal sociopolitical contexts, characterized by emphases on fostering individual responsibility, decreasing state dependency, and increasing privatization. The authors raises concerns related to occupational injustice, arguing for continuing vigilance regarding the ways 'productive aging' discourses might be drawn on to justify further state and workplace retreat from policies and programs that support those who face challenges to continued engagement in work or who cannot, or chose not to, be 'forever productive'.
Abstract: Employment is a right of citizenship and a social determinant of health, but employment rates remain low for persons with disabilities. The purpose of this paper is to examine the principles and practices guiding work integration within the fields of intellectual disability (ID), brain injury, and mental illness and to identify best practices to support transitions to employment across these three groups. This integrative review drew upon an occupational perspective to analyze the current literature. Findings…reveal that the need and benefits of working are recognized across disability groups but that philosophical perspectives guiding work integration differ. In the area of mental illness, recovery is seen as a process within which work plays an important role, in ID work is viewed as a planned outcome that is part of the developmental process, and in the field of brain injury, outcomes of employability and employment are emphasized. A common theme across the three disability groups is that in order to facilitate work integration, the person, the job and the work environment are important factors in need of examination. Evidence pointing to the effectiveness of the supported employment model is increasing across these three populations. A framework for guiding the development of further research and for promoting changes to support work integration is presented.
Keywords: Brain injury, mental illness, intellectual disability, employment, work integration
Abstract: The 2005 WorkChoices legislation delivered a significant diminution of Australian workers' rights in the form of choice and control over numerous aspects of working life. WorkChoices extended previous neoliberal reforms and consolidated the negative impacts of those reforms on marginalized groups of workers, especially those in precarious employment. This paper reports on the findings of an occupational science-based, critical discourse analysis of a government newspaper advertisement that promotes the reforms.…The construction of a WorkChoices discourse, one that was based on and sought to extend neoliberal hegemony, is identified by exploring the ways that particular ideas are presented as natural and mutually beneficial and, in response, the development of a counter-hegemonic argument, based on occupational justice theory, is discussed. The broader application of critical social research is also recommended in extending the occupational justice paradigm.
Abstract: Background: Work is a significant occupational transition that occurs with immigration and resettlement. Problems finding work and regaining economic capital are multi-factorial, differentiated by gender and mediated by specific contexts. Surprisingly, past education and work experience are unreliable predictors of successful employment outcomes. Approach: Critical theory and ethnographic concepts informed the methodological approach. Data were generated primarily through in-depth interviews, conducted in English, with 14 well-educated women who immigrated to…Canada as adults and sought employment in their professions. The thematic findings were analyzed using Bourdieu's  concepts of capital, field and habitus. Findings: The theme Compromised Careers describes the downward occupational (work) mobility that occurs despite expectations that education, credentials and work experience are transferable to desirable employment. A devaluation of foreign qualifications and no relevant Canadian work experience function with gendered responsibilities, less social support, and time spent in resettlement activities to create negative work trajectories. The role that federal policies and professional organizations play is examined to reveal the tension between individuals' efforts to find employment and institutional barriers that impede these actions. Conclusion: A critical inquiry approach examined the ruling relations to show how power and privilege function in relation to migrants' occupational transitions.
Keywords: Occupation, transition, work, immigrants, women
Abstract: Work-life balance has become a topic of increasing interest in the media as well as a concern among working Canadians. Since print media discourse can both reflect and shape societal values, cultural norms and ideals of workers in this country, it is important to understand this representation and its potential influence on the occupational engagement and life transitions of Canadian workers. Articles from four major Canadian newspapers published between 2003 and 2005 were used as data…sources to examine the media construction of "work-life balance". Thematic analysis of 100 articles was performed using a modified affinity diagramming process. Representations within the Canadian print media conveyed both themes pertaining to the perceived experiences of imbalance and balance, as well as, a process of life balance. Obtaining balance was portrayed as an ongoing process during which an individual negotiates and sacrifices in an attempt to achieve his or her ideal level of balance. Environmental expectations and individual practices and perceptions were conveyed as reasons for the success or derailment of balance. The representations of work-life balance found in the Canadian print media were predominantly of professionals, focused on the demands of work and family, and did not appear to be a broad representation of the multiple realities that all Canadians face.
Keywords: Work-life balance, media representation, occupation
Abstract: Chronic musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are the most common cause of work disability in the western world. Return to work (RTW) with chronic MSD is a complex process dependent on individual and social factors, including individual perceptions of the process. No studies have addressed RTW in the Slovenian context of high job protection legislation. This study was aimed at understanding how Slovenian employees with MSD made sense of their experiences with work and life before and after…the occurrence of MSD, giving meaning to their perceptions of the possibility to return to work. Data were collected through narrative interviews with six Slovenian employees with chronic MSD and analyzed with a paradigmatic approach. The participants described their experiences in a narrative of a transition from a life of stability and fulfillment to a life of suspense about their future. The work environment as well as health and disability systems were experienced as the most decisive in the development of those perceptions. The participants linked those experiences, more than the MSD itself, to their feelings of hope, doubt and fear about their possibilities of returning to work. The study shows how narratives about life and work can give meaning to individual perceptions of RTW process in a specific social and work context.
Keywords: Return to work, chronic musculoskeletal disorders, occupational science, vocational rehabilitation, work disability, narratives
Abstract: Background: Not enough is known about the relationship between work and health, particularly for people with psychiatric disability. A review of research investigating variables that predict success at work showed inconsistent and contradicting results. The voice of people with psychiatric disability was found to be largely missing from literature. A study was therefore undertaken to explore the influences that impacted on the work-lives of people with psychiatric disability. This paper elucidates the importance of…participation in work as an essential ingredient in the promotion of occupational justice, in identity construction and in the process of recovery for persons with psychiatric disability. Method: Interpretive biography was utilised to explore the experiences of people with psychiatric disability in the Western Cape, South Africa. Seventeen participants were identified using maximum variation sampling. Life story narratives were elicited during an average of three individual interviews per participant. Processes of analysis and interpretation were informed by a combination of paradigmatic narrative analysis and narrative analysis strategies. Findings: A complex interplay of influences that shaped the identities of participants in ways that can assist or hinder their participation in work was revealed. Participation in work was perceived to be a means of recovery and a source of wellness for participants. Conclusions: More conscious effort is needed to promote the use of work as source of support and resource for health for persons who live with psychiatric impairment.
Abstract: Background: The aim of this case study was to explore transitions of an injured worker suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and his lived experiences in learning to function in everyday life with this injury. To date, little research exists about the transitions of a worker to an injured worker beyond the focus of strategies in returning to work and rehabilitation. Methods: The injured worker's perspective was captured through the use of metaphors in…understanding the transition processes of participating in daily life without work. Metaphors were used to facilitate this injured worker's expression of deep thoughts and feelings, and to allow for different and abstract ways of thinking about disability and illness. Findings: Metaphors were identified within several transitions involved in the process of going from a worker to an injured worker functioning in daily life. Conclusions: The findings from this case study can be shared with others as a means of increasing the awareness of the experiences in managing daily life when living with MCS. In addition, insights from this injured worker's case could act as a venue for distributing knowledge about chemical injuries to health care professionals to broaden their views of this injury and its treatment.