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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: The goal of this research was to study the effect of adjustable imported desk and chair combinations available in the market on student performance. Methods: Six sets of chairs and tables within three different activities (reading, writing, and looking to the blackboard) were the independent variables. Evaluation of back force at 5th lumbar vertebrae and the 1st sacrum (L5/S1), subjective measures of discomfort, and the mismatch between student body dimension and classroom furniture…analysis were measured. Participants: A total of 124 young male students (first through sixth-grade) participated in this experiment. Results: The results revealed too low or too high chair and table heights relative to the students' body dimensions increased the stresses acting at L5/S1 as well as discomfort ratings. Conclusions: This study indicated there was a high level of body mismatch in desk-chair combinations even with the adjustable imported furniture available in the local market. Anthropometric data of Saudi students should be collected from different regions in the Kingdom and then design and development of desk-chair combinations could follow the development of a standard procedure to adapt to the needs of Saudi school children.
Keywords: School furniture, biomechanics, body part discomfort scale, human factors
Abstract: Objective: To examine whether managers' perceived stress and work strain is higher than perceived stress and work strain among employees. Methods and Participants: The study is based on questionnaire responses from 2052 respondents (128 managers and 1924 employees) at 48 worksites. Bi-variate and multivariate analyses were used to explain possible differences in stress levels and related mediators. Results: Managers experienced higher demands, higher level of conflicts, and lower degree of social support from…peers. They tended to experience significantly lower emotional stress, whereas this trend was insignificant with regards to behavioural, somatic and cognitive stress. The difference was partly explained by higher scores in the psychosocial work environment factors; job satisfaction, perceived management quality from their managers, influence, degrees of freedom at work, possibilities for development and meaning of work. For behavioural stress, 41% of the difference was explained by the preventive factors, 20% for somatic stress, 39% for emotional stress and 56% for cognitive stress. Conclusions: This study indicates that the preventive psychosocial factors explain parts of the managers' lower stress level. These results contradict the lay perception of managers being under higher pressure and experiencing more stress than employees. Interventions aiming at reducing employee stress levels, especially regarding behavioural and cognitive stress, could benefit from focussing on psychosocial work environment exposures such as skill discretion, meaning of work, psychological demands, information flow and management quality.
Keywords: Work related stress, psychosocial factors, leader, employee, prospective
Abstract: Objective: In this study, the effect of prolonged forward flexion on the recovery process of the reflexive muscle activity of the lumbar musculature to its original state is studied using human participants. Methods: The behavior of the lower back erector spinae muscle during 20 minutes of forward bending and three hours of recovery was evaluated experimentally using electromyography (EMG) and mathematical modeling. Participants: Ten healthy males participated in this study. The EMG of erector-spinae muscle from…two different lumbar levels was recorded and expressed as normalized integrated EMG (NIEMG). Results: In general, the average NIEMG values of the erector spinae muscles demonstrated an exponential decrease during the 20-minute loading period. The biexoponential structure, derived from the animal model, did not completely explain the muscle behavior during recovery period. Inclusion of the "intrinsic loading factor" to the biexoponential structure improved the fit of the recovery model to 100%. Conclusions: Most of the recovery (almost 50%) of the reflexive activity of erector spinae muscle was observed in the initial 30 minutes; yet by the end of three hours, complete recovery was not observed.
Abstract: Objective: It has been suggested that the presence of a depressive state is a predictor of increase of the body weight. However, to precisely understand the nature of this relationship, the data should be controlled for other factors that can also be associated with weight gain. Methods and Participants: To test the hypothesis that the presence of a depressive state is associated with future weight gain, a 4-year prospective occupation-based cohort study was conducted in male adult workers…(N=1730) at a railway company. Following the initial screening, follow-up information was obtained via a legally required annual health examination. The presence of a depressive state was identified using the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS). The weight of each participant was measured to the nearest kilogram. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to test the association between the depressive state and a weight gain of 4 kg or more over the 4-year study period after controlling for potentially confounding variables such as the age, smoking status, alcohol intake status, and physical activity. Results: A weight gain of 4 kg or more over the 4-year study period was significantly associated with the depressive state, even after controlling for confounding variables (p< 0.05). Short-term longitudinal analysis also revealed an association between the depressive state and subsequent increase of the body weight. Conclusion: Since the depressive state was demonstrated to be an important risk factor for increase of the body weight, further research on depression should be conducted with a view to providing effective health education.
Keywords: Weight gain, depressive state, lifestyle, occupational workers
Abstract: Objective: To investigate and gather knowledge of how important the various functions of Swedish rehabilitation workers are and whether this knowledge is equivalent to the demands of the vocational rehabilitation process. Participants: Swedish rehabilitation workers from both public and private sectors. Methods: A questionnaire comprising 89 work task items was used to identify the major dimensions of the Swedish rehabilitation workers job in the rehabilitation process. A principle component factor…analysis was performed on the 89 job-task items from the Swedish Task Inventory. Results: The number of factors/dimensions that could be formed was only three, which is judged to be limited both in scope and depth. The level of perceived knowledge reported varied from limited to having the required competence. The results also reveal that the workers perceive their work tasks and the dimensions that make up their role function as being of moderate to low importance. Their perceived level of knowledge for the similar work task items and dimensions were rated moderate to low. Differences between the groups of rehabilitation workers were mixed. Conclusions: The vocational rehabilitation process offered in Sweden is limited. It appears that the level of knowledge within the area can and should be increased and that better education is needed in order to improve the quality of the vocational rehabilitation process and for further development to take place.
Keywords: Swedish rehabilitation workers, important functions and knowledge, vocational rehabilitation process
Abstract: Objective: The primary aim of the study was to explore the current practice of occupational therapists when assessing standing performance during Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs). Methods: A semi-structured interview was conducted with occupational therapists and the participants were interviewed using both open and closed questions. Participants: A sample of occupational therapists (n=20) from Queensland, Australia were involved in a survey. They were all experienced in conducting FCEs. Results: Ninety percent of the respondents used…a distracting task during the assessment of standing with standardised and non-standardised nuts and bolts assembly tasks the most commonly used. Respondents reported using a mix of biophysical, physiological and psychophysical clinical observations to assess standing. The nuts and bolts assembly activities used by the respondents were rated to be of low interest in terms of engaging the client. Conclusions: It was identified there are minimal guidelines in the literature which focuses on assessment of standing in FCEs. Questions were raised regarding the adequacy of the use of nuts and bolts activities as a suitably distracting task in FCEs and further research is required on assessing standing in functional capacity evaluation including the use of suitably distracting activities
Abstract: Objective: To know the situation of Sheltered Employment Centers (CEE) in the Autonomous Community of Madrid. Method: A quantitative approach was developed by using a questionnaire which was sent to all the CEE. With this questionnaire we got information about the performance level of CEE. A qualitative approach was developed too by using an interview applied to a representative sample of users. With the interview we got information about users' perception and satisfaction.…Participants: 73 centers from 175 (41.71%) participated in the quantitative approach. For the qualitative approach, 60 workers were selected from 1,899 (3.16%) in a randomized and stratified sample by age and gender. Results: Users of CEE have most of them physical (38.41%) or intellectual (26.88%) disabilities, between 25 and 44 years old (65.44%) with permanent and full-time contract (64.17%). Satisfaction is very high (93.33%), mainly with the task (41.76%) and their coworkers (30.00%), and emphasizing that money is the least attractive feature (35.59%). Conclusions: CEE need to give careful thought to some of the key aspects of their makeup and practices. We would point out the need to make clear use of the personal and social adaptation services, act as routes for the transition to normalized employment.
Keywords: Sheltered employment, disability, quantitative research, qualitative research, quality of life
Abstract: Objective: The effect of shift schedules on the amount of sleep that workers receive is an important factor in workplace health and safety as well as the employees' overall quality of life. The objective of this study is to compare sleep period among workers engaging in each of the three-shift work. Methods and Participants: The amount of sleep (sleep period) that male workers with rotating shift schedules received was measured using accelerometers. The mean age of the 16 male…workers enrolled in this study was 54.3 years (one standard deviation, 6.7 years). Thirteen participants ranged in age from 51 to 60 years of age, and the other three participants were 32, 48, and 50 years old. Work shifts were rotated on a weekly basis and were categorized into three periods: shift-1 (8:00 to 17:00), shift-2 (15:00 to 23:50), and shift-3 (23:30 to 8:15). Each work week consisted of 5 days. Results: No significant differences were observed in the mean sleep period for each of the three shifts. However, the sleep periods during shift-1 or shift-2 tended to be longer than that obtained during shift-3. No effect of age on the length of the sleep period was observed. Conclusions: Rotating shift-work did not affect the amount of sleep that workers obtained. However, a comparison with previous study results suggests that morning shifts (starting at 6 AM) and day shifts (starting at 8 AM) may have different effects on sleep time.
Keywords: Accelerometer, shift work, biological rhythms, automotive industry
Abstract: Objective: Obtaining reliable functional capacity measures from injured workers is an essential part of the return to work (RTW) process. The present study compares shoulder functional outcomes between healthy individuals and others with neck/shoulder pain, assesses reliability and examines the influence of repetitive movements on shoulder function. Methods: Subjects performed trials of flexion and abduction active range of motion (ROM), and cumulative power output (PO) in a pushing/pulling task on the Baltimore…Therapeutic Equipment Simulator II in two consecutive sessions. Tasks were assessed before and after performing a repetitive arm task, during which heart rate (HR) was recorded, until scoring 8 on the Borg CR-10 scale or on a 11-point numeric rating scale (NRS) for pain. Participants: Persons with chronic neck/shoulder pain (intensity ⩾ 3/10 for > 3 months) (n = 16) and an age- and sex-matched control group (n = 16). Results: Functional shoulder measures demonstrated strong inter-session reliability, except PO in the pain group. Average repetitive task duration was shorter in the pain group (4 min vs. 7 min). Conclusions: The protocol detected both pain- and time-related impairments, with HR and PO being sensitive to movement duration and ROM to pain.
Abstract: Objective: Contingent self-esteem has been assumed to be a risk for burnout-related disorders, and a contingent self-worth notion of job burnout was applied to study the prospective relationship between job burnout and registered episodes of sickness absence of ⩾ 60 consecutive days. Methods: Job burnout was defined as being in the high quartiles on the Maslach Burnout Inventory – General Survey (MBI-GS) scales of exhaustion and cynicism and, in addition, as being above the median on a scale…for performance-based self-esteem. Another high exhaustion-cynicism group, a "job wornout" group, was defined as being high on the same MBI-GS scales but having performance-based self-esteem scores below the median. Data were analyzed by a multivariate, logistic regression approach. Participants: 4,109 public employees in Sweden. Results: The job burnout group showed an over-risk of long-term sickness absence incidence, both compared with a low exhaustion-cynicism reference group and with the job wornout group after adjustment for several potential confounders. No association with incidence of long-term sickness absence was found for the job wornout group. Conclusions: The differential vulnerability to long-term sickness absence among high exhaustion-cynicism groups suggests that a self-worth perspective of job burnout can be advantageous for prevention of the costly long-term sickness absences.