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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: OBJECTIVE: This paper aims to systematically explore the prevalence and risk factors of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) in the catering industry by reviewing relevant published literature with the goal of developing future prevention strategies. METHODS: The systematic review was carried out in nine English medical databases, two Chinese-dominated full-text databases and seven web sites with the designated search strategies. Studies were included if they met the defined inclusion criteria hierarchically to investigate prevalence and…or risk factors associated with WMSDs in the catering industry with appropriate epidemiological methodology. RESULTS: Nine English databases yielded 634 citations, and two Chinese databases yielded 401 citations, although only five English and three Chinese studies passed the inclusion criteria. Three-fourths of the studies were cross-sectional. The prevalence of WMSDs varied from 3% to 86% depending on the type of establishment and positions. The most important risk factors were physical job demands, such as work posture, force applied, and repeated movement. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of epidemiological information about WMSDs in the catering industry is apparent. Further studies are needed to investigate the relation among prevalence, risk factors and forms of WMSDs, in particular the interaction of risk factors in psychosocial aspects of the catering industry.
Keywords: Chinese restaurant, physical work demands, and injury-prevention strategies
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: The evolution of musculoskeletal disorders and the adjustment to its consequences is a complex, multidimensional process determined by biopsychosocial factors. Despite the plethora of research in this field, little consensus has emerged about its main risk factors. The aims of the present study are to investigate the capacity of biopsychosocial variables to predict active involvement in a return to work process. PARTICIPANTS: A sample (N=62) of workers with mostly chronic occupational injuries receiving…compensation benefits from the CSST [Quebec Workers' Compensation Board] was recruited. METHODS: Questionnaires were administered at baseline and subjects were followed prospectively and assessed again after 2 and 8 months. RESULTS: The variables under investigation were: age, gender, duration of symptoms, pain severity, disability, work importance, work support, work satisfaction, recovery expectations, depression, anxiety, global distress severity index, post-traumatic symptoms and readiness to change. After multivariate analysis, we found gender, work recovery expectations and importance of work to be predictive of work outcomes at 2 months. After 8 months, age, medical consolidation, trauma symptoms, work support and importance of work were predictive of work outcomes. CONCLUSION: The results show the importance of addressing chronic work disability in research and rehabilitation from a multidimensional perspective although psychosocial variables were the most significant predictors in this study.
Keywords: Prognostic factors, musculoskeletal, work disability, psychosocial
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: This study investigated gender-specific interaction between effort-reward imbalance and video display unit (VDU) postural risk factors at work on the incidence of self-reported musculoskeletal symptoms in the shoulder-neck, lower back and upper limbs regions. PARTICIPANTS: A cohort of 2,431 VDU users – consisting of white-collar workers in three Canadian public service organizations – was assessed on postural risk factors and effort-reward imbalance at work. METHODS: After a mean follow-up time of three years, the six-month…incidence proportion of musculoskeletal symptoms in each body region was measured. Interaction was estimated with the attributable proportion of cases due to interaction. RESULTS: For women, two significant attributable proportions due to interaction between effort-reward imbalance and postural risk factors were observed in the shoulder-neck (64%) and upper limbs (57%) regions, while an interaction of 25%, although not significant, was observed in the lower back. No interaction was observed for men. CONCLUSIONS: This interaction means that, among women, when effort-reward imbalance and postural risk factors are simultaneously present, the incidence of musculoskeletal symptoms is greater than the sum of effects of the individual factors. Successful interventions on either one of these exposures would thus have the supplemental benefit of preventing cases due to interaction.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Although the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workforce is at the top of the policy agenda in Norway, the number of people with disabilities who return to work (RTW) is rather low. Studies have found that, in addition to disabled people's physical ability level, employers' attitudes and skills seem to be of vital importance for a positive return process. The objective of this study was therefore to examine the inclusion process from the…employers' perspective, by gathering knowledge regarding the factors that employers experience as essential for positive RTW for persons with reduced mobility. PARTICIPANTS: Fifteen managers from six different counties, representing private, public and state-owned companies participating in the study, together with staff from local employment offices. METHODS: Using an exploratory approach, the study identified key elements for a successful RTW, expressed in six focus group discussions on themes of importance for a return to work. RESULTS: The analyses identified three important processes in leadership: the inclusion process, the adjustment process, and the process related to costs and bureaucracy. CONCLUSIONS: The study indicated that a positive RTW was based on the workplace leader's communication skills, and the necessary adaptations being made at the work place. Besides the welfare benefits, the employers also called attention to the coordination of public services, and the way in which providers present their assistance, as essential for a positive work re-entry process for employees with reduced function.
Keywords: Leadership, work re-entry, disability management, inclusive working life
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Presentation of a salutogenic theory of return to work (RTW). PARTICIPANTS: The study group include 118 unskilled Danish public employees and privately employed house-cleaners on sick leave due to musculoskeletal and/or common mental illnesses. METHODS: Theory of RTW is discussed from a theoretical and empirical viewpoint, using baseline-data from an intervention study in a longitudinal, non-randomized study design with follow-up after one year. RESULTS: High work ability, strong social support from colleagues…and over-commitment are the most important prognostic factors for RTW. An active coping style, high self-efficacy and Sense of Coherence (SOC) are found to increase RTW and high hostility and over-commitment to decrease RTW. Besides health elements in work ability are SOC, self-efficacy, social support and physical activity. Work ability and active coping mediate positive associations between RTW and health, and a negative association with stress. CONCLUSIONS: Work ability seems to express the intention to work decisive for RTW, reflecting the interpretation of the work/health situation based on comprehensibility, meaningfulness and manageability. It is influenced by the personal view of life, attitudes and interaction with the workplace. An ecological theory, integrating health promotion is proposed. A later paper will present the intervention study and further validation of the theory.
Keywords: Bio-psycho-social rehabilitation, work ability, sick leave, health, sense of coherence
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Validation of a salutogenic theory for return to work (RTW) and an associated program process theory. METHODS: A longitudinal non-randomized one-year trial study design was used with a two-year follow-up and with comparison to a reference group. Changes in attitudes and active behaviour in the intervention group and at the workplace were supported by cognitive and behavioural approaches. PARTICIPANTS: The intervention group included 118 unskilled Danish public employees and privately employed house-cleaners on sick leave…due to musculoskeletal and/or common mental illnesses. RESULTS: Significant improvements of work ability index and perceived health (SF36 subgroups) were reported. A significantly higher RTW and a shorter sick leave than in the reference group also emerged. Positive predictors of RTW were keeping the pre-sick-leave job and improving work ability index and physical impairment/role physical. Decline in self-efficacy was a negative predictor. CONCLUSIONS: Support for the theory and associated program process theory was found. The intervention seemed to influence RTW and the employees' attitudes, behaviour and health by affecting comprehensibility, meaningfulness and manageability. Sustainable RTW emerged from a synergism of support from the work place and improved personal resources, especially such as concern mental health. The approach is consistent with integrating health promotion in RTW.
Keywords: Bio-psycho-social rehabilitation, work ability, sick leave, health promotion, sense of coherence
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Research in quality of rehabilitation has mostly concerned patients with chronic diseases, but the aim of the present study was to investigate what constitutes good quality in rehabilitation after a person has sustained a fracture at working age, from both patients' and therapists' perspectives. PARTICIPANTS: Seven patients with bone fracture, aged 32–60 years, and 23 occupational therapists and physiotherapists from hospitals, municipalities and private practices in Denmark. METHODS: Qualitative study with…in-depth semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed according to grounded theory method. RESULTS: Partnership was a central theme that was constituted by continuity of rehabilitation and therapists' use of a patient-centred approach. Patients' experiences of continuity of rehabilitation was supported, not only by organizational factors, but depended also on values constituting the patient-centred approach. Therapists used their professional network to refine the transition process from hospital into the community, but there was no co-operation between departments in the municipalities about patients' return to work. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that patients with acute injuries need partnership, respect, and understanding through the rehabilitation course. Personal relations were important for continuity of rehabilitation (i.e. that organizational quality depended more on therapists' efforts to promote continuity for the patient than organizational tools).
Keywords: Injury, occupational therapy, patient-centred approach, physiotherapy, return to work
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The moderating role of personality traits between work organization conditions and alcohol misuse by Canadian workers was examined. PARTICIPANTS: Longitudinal data came from Statistics Canada's National Population Health Survey (NPHS). METHODS: Data had a hierarchical structure and were analyzed using multilevel logistic regression models. RESULTS: The multilevel analyis revealed that skill utilisation at work increased by 7% the risk of being part of an alcohol misuse group. Similarly, psychological demands…at work, and being confronted with an irregular work schedule increased alcohol misuse respectively by 69 and 611%. Inversely, workers confronted with a job insecurity and those benefitting from social support at work had a respective 12 and 5% lower risk of being part of an alcohol misuse group. As for personnality traits, self-esteem increased by 17% the risk of alcohol misuse, while sense of coherence decreased the risk by 1%. Finally, self-esteem moderated by 3% the impact of physical demands at work on workers'alcohol misuse. CONCLUSIONS: This study builds upon previous research, since no prior study was able to identify the moderating role that self-esteem plays between physical demands at work, and worker's alcohol misuse.
Keywords: Longitudinal study self-esteem internal locus of control, sense of coherence, Canadian workers
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The study is aimed at exploring, describing and understanding the experiences and perceptions of male ex-offenders with regards to their participation in skills development and/or training programmes. METHODS: The research methodology utilised the qualitative research paradigm, specifically using the tradition of phenomenology. To gather data from the participants, focus groups and face to face interviews were conducted, consisting of broad questions followed by probes to gain an in-depth description of participants' experiences and perceptions.…PARTICIPANTS: Five males who were classified as being ex-offenders and one female (key informant) participated in the study. RESULTS: Three themes emerged that reflected the vocational experience of ex offenders: 1) A sense of distrust, 2) A sense of support: Giving back to the community through learning and doing, 3) Working towards change through capacity building. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of the study suggest that occupational therapy practitioners as well as correctional service personnel should identify and eliminate the barriers that impacts on return to work intervention programmes. Professionals working with offenders and ex-offenders should incorporate the enablers identified in this study when designing return to work programmes.
Keywords: Occupational therapy, occupational deprivation, vocational rehabilitation and qualitative research