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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: The aim of this study was to explore the changes in work-related abilities of members after attending the Clubhouse program for 12 weeks. The extent to which the changes would contribute to members' performance on simulated work tasks was also investigated. A total of 39 people with mental illnesses, primarily schizophrenia, attending Phoenix Clubhouse participated in the study. Seventeen were newly recruited members to the Clubhouse. The other 22, who served as the control group, were…existing members who had been attending the Clubhouse for more than three months. All the participants were assessed by the McCarron-dial System (Observational Emotional Inventory-Revised, McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development), Cognistat, Chinese Work Personality Profile, WHO Disability Assessment Schedule and WHOQOL-Bref-HK at the baseline and 12 weeks after attending the Clubhouse program. They were required to complete a set of simulated work tasks after 12 weeks. New members showed significant improvement in emotional-coping abilities (impulsive-frustration and depression-withdrawal) and work personality (task orientation, social skills, and team work) after attending the Clubhouse program for 12 weeks. The increase in emotional-coping skills (depression-withdrawal) was found to contribute to better performance on typing tasks, whereas emotional coping (anxiety) contributed to better performance on cleansing tasks. Three months' participation in the Clubhouse program appears to have positive effects on emotional-coping abilities and work personality. The emotional-coping abilities were found to predict good performance in simulated clerical and maintenance jobs. Recommendations and suggestions for further research are discussed.
Keywords: Clubhouse model, work ability, work adjustment, emotional coping, work personality
Abstract: Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a 12-week work hardening program designed for back injured workers. Study design: In this study, 32 subjects were recruited. Pre- and post-assessment results were used to measure the program effectiveness. The intensity of the work hardening program was based on the overloading training principle. Subjects were contacted by phone three months after the program completion for their work status. Result:…The findings of this study suggested that there was a significant difference in the subjects' physical demand characteristic level before and after the work hardening program. Seventy-five percent of the subjects who completed the work hardening program were able to resume employment. Conclusion: The rate of returning to work for back injured workers in this study was comparable to that of other studies. Thus, this study suggests that the overloading principle should be used in designing a work hardening program to improve clients' physical function.
Keywords: Outcome measurement, work hardening, return to work
Abstract: This study aimed to collect evidence on the structural and substantive validity, and test-retest reliability of the Chinese version of the Oswestry Disability Index (CODI). Seventy-nine patients suffering from chronic low back pain were assessed with the CODI. The results of explorative factor analysis primarily suggested a single-factor structure with nine out of 10 items (factor loading = 0.66–0.79). The sex life item was found to load on a different factor. The Cronbach's alpha of all…10 items was 0.81 (p<0.05). When the sex life item was removed from the analysis, the alpha value was increased to 0.89 (p<0.05). The test-retest reliability was estimated based on 56 participants who completed two administrations of CODI in 48 hours. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) computed for the total CODI scores was 0.86 (95% C.I. = 0.81–0.91). The reliability estimated for the item scores using Kappa statistics ranged from a high of k=0.80 for the sitting item to a low of k=0.49 for the traveling item. Kappa statistics were not available for three items. The Chinese version of the Oswestry Disability Index demonstrated satisfactory validity and test-retest reliability, and so could be considered as an appropriate instrument for assessing chronic back pain-related disability in Chinese patients in Hong Kong. Further research should address the cross-cultural and measurement issues in regard to sex life in order to further improve the test content of the instrument.
Keywords: Back pain, validity, Oswestry Disability Index
Abstract: This study investigated the psycho-social factors among injured workers and the influence of their psycho-social profile on the readiness of return to work. Sixty-four subjects with injuries on the upper limbs or lower limbs, low back pain, or cumulative trauma disorder were recruited. The workers' profiles (self-perceived physical health, mental health, and work readiness) together with the impact and types of work injury on the workers' perceived wellness were measured. The regression model of work readiness…was constructed to develop a theoretical background for predicting work readiness based on different factors. The results showed that injured workers with chronic injury such as low back pain or cumulative trauma had poorer self-perception of physical health and psycho-social/mental health compared to those with direct trauma. The regression analysis further affirmed that self-perceived pain and physical functioning were significant factors influencing the readiness for returning to work. Workers with low back pain were found to have lower motivation for returning to work. Other factors such as the non-verbal intelligence of the injured workers, their anxiety level, and the support they received from family members were found to have some indirect impact on their ability to return to work, but this was not statistically proven.
Keywords: Worker profile, work rehabilitation, direct work injury, low back pain, cumulative trauma
Abstract: The rate of employment for people with spinal cord injuries is relatively low, especially among Asians. To help individuals with spinal cord injuries return to work or retain employment, rehabilitation professionals must understand the barriers to employment and intervene to reduce or remove them. Hence, a focus group study was administered to 16 people with spinal cord injuries to explore return to work barriers. Various ideas, beliefs, responses, and values at different stages of work resettlement…were elicited from both employed and unemployed participants, and then summarized. According to the results, several modifications of existing forms of rehabilitation intervention are necessary, as are further research directions.
Keywords: Return to work, barriers, spinal cord injury, focus group
Abstract: Due to advancements in emergency evacuation procedures and neurosurgical techniques, more patients with brain injury (BI) can survive cerebral injury and regain a satisfactory degree of recovery through rehabilitation. Their improvement in physical and cognitive functions can facilitate their reintegration into the community, especially their return to work (RTW). Different factors were reported to affect this rate of RTW in previous studies. This retrospective study thus aimed to investigate the role of…demographic data, the severity of injury, residual physical deficits, activities of daily living, and cognitive function using a stepwise discriminant function analysis (DFA). Data sets for 79 persons with BI were retrieved so as to identify predictors of their vocational outcomes upon discharge and during a follow-up period. The stepwise DFA revealed that the discharge score on the Disability Rating Scale (DRS), the attention-subtest of the Neurobehavioral Cognitive Status Examination (NCSE) or Cognistat, and pre-morbid occupation were significant predictors that correctly classified 65.8% of the subjects
Keywords: Outcomes, return to work, prediction, rehabilitation, brain injury
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to revise the content of the Work Performance Rating Scale (WPRS) as a valid assessment tool for sheltered workshop workers. A focus group of 11 sheltered workshop workers was recruited to collect their opinions about the relevance of the WPRS from the service users' perspectives. A panel of 23 frontline practitioners who had experience in using various work assessment instruments provided at their work setting was recruited to review the…content of the WPRS. A 14-item amended version of the WPRS with five new items added was proposed based on the opinions of service users, frontline practitioners, and the concept of the Minnesota Theory of Work Adjustment (MTWA). An expert panel of 12 professionals at the senior level from various vocational rehabilitation settings was recruited to comment on the content validity of the 14-item amended version of the WPRS. The expert panel agreed that the amended version of the WPRS was related to the concept of job satisfactoriness which could be used to assess the work performance of sheltered workshop workers. Thus, the use of the MTWA for improving the content validity of the WPRS to assess the employability of sheltered workshop workers was supported by the findings of the study.
Keywords: Content validity, work assessment, sheltered workshop
Abstract: The purpose of this project was to develop and pilot a web-based job placement information network aiming at enhancing the work trial and job placement opportunities of people with disabilities (PWD). Efficient uses of information technology in vocational rehabilitation were suggested to help improve PWD employment opportunities and thus enable them to contribute as responsible citizens to the society. In this preliminary study, a web-based employer network was so developed to explore Hong Kong employers' needs…and intentions in employing PWD. The results indicated that Hong Kong employers generally agreed to arrange work trials for PWD whose work abilities match job requirements. They also expressed that they would offer permanent job placements to those PWD who showed satisfactory performance in work trials. The present study evidenced that using an information network could expedite communications between employers and job placement services, and thus job placement service outcomes. It is hoped that a job placement databank could thus be developed through accumulating responses from potential employers.
Keywords: Information network, job placement, employers, people with disabilities
Abstract: Objectives: This study aimed to analyze the ability of the Patient Retraining and Vocational Resettlement (PRAVR) program to enhance the vocational outcomes of individuals with chronic illness, and to study the socio-demographic factors associated with successful vocational outcome. Study design: A retrospective study of 548 individuals with various types of chronic illness who enrolled in the program between 1995 and 2003. Their socio-demographic data and their employment outcome after a six-month job skills retraining and…job settlement service were collected for analysis. Results: The program was found to enhance the vocational outcomes of patients who completed the program. Logistic regression identified significant factors predicting successful vocational outcomes. For the male patients, the chances of employment were higher if the onset of illness had occurred at least 10 years before (odd ratios = 0.326). For the female patients, the chances of employment were higher if they had been unemployed for less than 1 year (odd ratio = 3.8). Conclusions: The PRAVR program is able to enhance the vocational outcomes of people with chronic illness in Hong Kong. The factors which were found to relate to successful employment were unique to the local situation. Further studies should explore these factors in a more in-depth manner.
Abstract: Rehabilitation and health care researchers are increasingly called upon to examine contemporary disability issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to (a) borrow from the counseling literature to introduce the working alliance, a model developed by Bordin  to facilitate positive therapeutic relationships; and (b) to discuss its application to interdisciplinary research. The authors, who represent the fields of nursing, rehabilitation, and health communication, describe characteristics of…the working alliance and draw upon their experiences to illustrate the key components of effective working alliances (bonds, goals, and tasks). We also introduce strategies for resolving disagreements and conclude the article with a discussion regarding the multiple rewards that can be acquired from interdisciplinary research.
Keywords: Interdisciplinary research, collaboration, working alliance