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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: Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the activities in which middle school students participate most often. This research also determined whether students reported having difficulty participating in specific activities because of musculoskeletal pain from using their backpack, and whether the pain impacted the frequency with which they participated in activities. Method: One hundred and twenty seven 7th grade students between the ages of 12 and 13 years old completed The Activity Participation…Survey. This survey was used to determine the activities that students participated in most often and whether their participation was impacted by pain. Frequencies and independent samples t-tests were used to analyze the data. Results: The results revealed that over 50% of students participated in work related activities such as completing homework, carrying books during school and completing household chores most often throughout the week. The results also indicated that 31.0% of the students reported having difficulty participating in activities as a result of pain. Nearly 25% of students reported having difficulty carrying their books during school because of pain, and 19% reported having difficulty playing sports. It is notable that among the students who reported having difficulty carrying their books, 12% reported carrying their books less frequently. Conclusions: Future studies should be performed to verify that pain from backpack use causes middle school students' participation in activities to be difficult. Continued research may further reveal that students may decrease the frequency that they engage in activities because of difficulty and pain, and results may be used to educate others on the scope and pertinence of this issue to students' daily lives.
Keywords: musculoskeletal pain, book bag, students, adolescents
Abstract: This study examined the perspectives of people with psychiatric disabilities and employment service providers regarding factors that most directly help or hinder consumer efforts to obtain and maintain employment. Forty-four adults with serious mental illness (SMI) (consumers) and 30 providers participated in 12 focus groups across Massachusetts. We began both consumer and provider groups by posing two broad questions: 1) what factors most help people with SMI get and keep jobs (facilitators), and 2) what factors…most prevent people with SMI from getting and keeping jobs (barriers)? Data were analyzed qualitatively and both person and environmental factors were highlighted. Among facilitators, participants agreed that quality consumer-provider relationships and individualized employment services are most instrumental in helping consumers achieve employment goals. Participants identified a range of environmental barriers, including issues related to the service system, entitlement programs, non-human resources, and social stigma. Implications for services are discussed.
Abstract: The aim of this study was to determine the personal and environmental factors that contribute to the lodging of a workers' compensation claim for psychological injury. Four groups were compared: individuals who had lodged a workers' compensation claim, people who had sought psychological assistance for the management of work-related stress reactions but who had not lodged a workers' compensation claim; people who had experienced stress symptoms but who had not lodged a claim or sought help;…and people who experienced stressful work events but who had not developed symptoms. Examination was made of cognitive distortion, irrational beliefs and coping resources as individual factors, and stressful life events, daily hassles and work environment factors as environmental variables. The Compensation group was distinguished from other groups only on the basis of work environmental factors. The implications of these results in the understanding of the decision to lodge a workers' compensation claim are considered.
Abstract: A research team with backgrounds in occupational therapy, rehabilitation, policy and rulemaking, and prevention programs affecting occupational health and safety designed, validated, and analyzed an ergonomics survey of university staff and faculty. The purpose of the study was to validate identified risk factors from the literature contributing to work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMDs) in an office setting within a university setting. The study was also designed to determine differences between faculty and staff…in the university setting and their exposure to physical risk factors to WRMDs. The results suggest faculty have their keyboard in awkward positions more frequently than staff, and staff had more experience with mechanical stress than faculty. The researchers recommend parameters for the design of a university ergonomics program based on employee and education, management commitment, medical case management, problem job identification, and development of solutions.
Abstract: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) have been recognized as a serious hazard to the health and safety of sonographers. Recommendations have been made on ways to reduce and prevent the frequency and severity of these disorders. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the impact ergonomics has had on the prevalence of MSDs among cardiac sonographers. Three hundred randomly selected Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographers were surveyed. Eighty-one respondents completed the survey. The majority of the sample population…was female with an average age of 40 and job tenure between 6–15 years. Ninety percent of respondents reported musculoskeletal pain/discomfort while scanning. Seventy-three percent of respondents perceived a need for ergonomic interventions. The majority of respondents were aware of previously recommended ergonomic interventions and had implemented what was feasible. Still, the experience of pain and discomfort, and incidence of MSDs remains exceptionally high for this occupation. It appears that recommended ergonomic interventions have not had a significant impact on improving the health and safety of cardiac sonographers.
Abstract: Background. Workplace productivity evaluations often involve subjective assessments. This study was performed to develop and validate a new multidimensional instrument, the Health and Work Questionnaire (HWQ), for measuring workplace productivity and worker heath. Methods. In a prospective, non-randomized study, objective and subjective workplace productivity (measured with the HWQ) was assessed among 96 current, 94 former, and 104 non-smoking volunteer reservation agents at a US-based international airline. Results. Six HWQ sub-scales were identified…from factor analyses: productivity, concentration/focus, supervisor relations, impatience/irritability, work satisfaction, and non-work satisfaction. Non-smokers (individuals who had never smoked) had higher scores on all scales. The HWQ scale scores all correlated significantly with the objective measure "Time Lost"; two of the scales correlated significantly with the summary objective performance measure. Magnitudes of the significant correlations were modest (0.12 to 0.22). Conclusions. The HWQ may be useful for evaluating the impact of interventions on workplace productivity. Additional validation research on the HWQ is recommended before use as a primary measure in studies of worker productivity.
Abstract: The loads that school students are carrying to, around and from school is an issue of increasing concern particularly as the long term effects of excessive load carriage on school students' musculoskeletal health is unknown. A greater understanding of the temporal patterns of students' load carriage, which usually involves backpacking, would assist in determining the magnitude of the problem that is faced by school students. The aim of this study was to determine the duration of…school students' walking, running and stair climbing while backpacking and identify when students take off and put on their backpacks using activity monitoring and video, and therefore validate activity monitoring as a tool for measuring the temporal patterns of backpacking in school students. An activity monitor was secured in the backpacks of six school students while they completed a predefined physical activity course. Participants firstly completed the course following a set time pattern ('set course') and then repeated the course while performing activities as they pleased ('free course'). Video footage and activity monitor data were captured simultaneously. The activity monitor provided consistent visual differentiation between walking, running and taking off and putting on a backpack. The greatest variation between measures was for walking during the 'free course' (mean 8, SD 7 seconds), while the least variation between measures was for stair climbing during the 'set course' (mean 3, SD 2 seconds). There were no statistical differences between the activity monitor and video camera determined durations for any of the activities. These preliminary results suggest that activity monitoring may enable valid analysis of the temporal patterns of backpacking with little disruption to the user, although more work is required to verify this.
Abstract: Objective: The aim of this retrospective study was to determine the effectiveness of a work injury prevention program in the housekeeping department of a hotel. Studies have validated the use of different injury prevention strategies to decrease the incidence of work-related injuries. Few studies, however, have reported the efficacy of an on-site work injury prevention program by a physical therapist. Study design: In 1995, implementation of a work injury prevention program by a physical…therapist to 50 housekeeping supervisors, 60 house persons and 340 guest room attendants at a large hotel began. This program included a detailed work risk analysis of the work environment, development of job descriptions, identification of injury-related problematic work situations, and implementation of a job specific supervisor-training program. Supervisor, house person and guest room attendant training was also conducted at the end of 1995 and the beginning of 1997. Results: Data of injury reports in 1995, 1996, and 1997 were analyzed to determine the results of the program. There was a reduction in total injury claims, total medical expenses, total lost work time and total restricted duty time. Conclusion: These results demonstrate the cost effectiveness of implementing a work injury prevention program for housekeeping guest room attendants in the hotel industry.
Abstract: More knowledge is needed on different factors that can promote return to work among sick-listed persons. One such factor might be by their interactions with the rehabilitation professionals they encounter. The aim of the present study was to identify and analyze statements about positive encounters with rehabilitation staff, reported by persons who had been absent from work with back, neck, or shoulder diagnoses. A descriptive and explorative qualitative approach was used to analyze data from five…focus-group interviews. There were few statements on positive encounters, and they were frequently attributed to sheer luck. Experiences of positive encounters were assigned to two major categories: respectful treatment and supportive treatment. Receiving adequate medical examination or treatment was also mentioned as being positive. Further efforts are needed to study and develop methods for investigating interactions with rehabilitation professionals that laypersons experience as positive and that may contribute to empowerment and influence return to work when sickness absent.
Keywords: sickness absence, sick leave, rehabilitation, encounter, return to work
Abstract: The article describes non-manipulation quantitative designs of two types, correlational and causal comparative studies. Both of these designs are characterized by the absence of random assignment of research participants to conditions or groups and non-manipulation of the independent variable. Without random selection or manipulation of the independent variable, no attempt is made to draw causal inferences regarding relationships between independent and dependent variables. Nonetheless, non-manipulation studies play an important role in rehabilitation…research, as described in this article. Examples from the contemporary rehabilitation literature are included.