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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 purpose of this paper is to examine key challenges associated with conducting politically sensitive research within a workplace setting, and to highlight strategic partnerships that can be developed to address these challenges. Method: The author's research on employee mental health issues within a large healthcare facility serves as the foundation for identification and description of "political minefields" that investigators may encounter when conducting organizational case study research. Key methodological principles…from the literature on qualitative case study research will frame discussion of how to understand and address political sensitivities in the research process. Results: The benefits of conducting organizational case study research will be outlined, followed by discussion of methodological challenges that can emerge in negotiating entry, collecting data (gatekeepers, researcher reflexivity, participant authenticity and non-maleficence), and communicating research findings. Conclusion: Courage, collaboration and clear communication with stakeholders at all levels of the organization are critical to the success of workplace based case study research.
Abstract: The aim of the study was to investigate how people with serious mental illness perceived the experience of volunteering for the health care organisation in which they had received a service. The study took a qualitative approach and in phase one, eleven service user volunteers were purposefully sampled and interviewed. In depth interviews were analysed using grounded theory. This paper describes the findings from phase one, and highlights the following themes to represent the volunteering experience:…1) rehearsing for a new direction; 2) treading carefully at first; 3) discovering my new self; and, 4) using my experience and extending relationships. These themes further support a tentative theoretical framework that considers supported volunteering to enhance recovery because it fosters positive risk taking and gives individuals a valued identity that integrates their mental health experience. In phase two, this framework will be tested with service users in more diverse volunteer positions. The findings of my study suggest that mental health services are in a unique position to build partnerships with service users to support their recovery and journeys toward employment by providing opportunities for volunteering.
Abstract: Objectives: This study explored the experiences of an established collaborative research group, which were collected as data to gain research skills. Currently ideas about user involvement and knowledge transfer have not been considered together, indicating possible gaps in knowledge. Participants: Eight members of the group took part, including five people using local mental health services, an assistant and an occupational therapist from local services, and an academic. Methods: Experiences of collaborative working were explored in…phases. Structured individual reflections were recorded and shared for initial analysis. A group discussion prepared for constant comparative analysis, which synthesized the emerging themes. Results: Participants had gained and shared skills, understanding and knowledge. "Meeting in the mist" was a metaphor to explain the journeys experienced by participants, within a collaborative cycle. This cycle was central to a visual model, "Creating space", which suggested the importance of allowing sufficient time and space to work for a shared vision of the future. A final theme was the "warp factor", which drew on relativity theory to highlight the sense of innovation. Conclusions: Collaborative work can be based on knowledge transfer and ideas about user involvement, generating tangible benefits for all involved, including engaging in productive occupations.
Keywords: User involvement, knowledge transfer, participatory research, reflection
Abstract: Objective: The purpose of this study was to enhance understanding of the impact of individual and environmental variables on job satisfaction among people with severe mental illness employed in social enterprises. Participants: A total of 248 individuals with severe mental illness employed by social enterprises agreed to take part in the study. Methods: We used logistic regression to analyse job satisfaction. A model with job satisfaction as the dependent variable, and both individual (occupational self-efficacy and severity…of symptoms perceived) and environmental (workplace) factors (provision of workplace accommodations, social support from co-workers, organizational constraints) as well as external factors (family support) as predictors, was tested on the entire sample. Results: All findings across the study suggest a significant positive impact of both individual and environmental factors on job satisfaction. People with higher occupational self-efficacy who were provided with workplace accommodations and received greater social support were more likely to experience greater job satisfaction. Conclusions: These results suggest that certain features of social enterprises, such as workplace accommodations, are important in promoting job satisfaction in people with severe mental illness. Further studies are warranted to expand knowledge of the workplace features that support employees with severe mental illness in their work integration process.
Keywords: Partnerships, mental disorders, environmental characteristics, social firms, vocational outcomes
Abstract: Objective: To examine barriers and facilitators influencing self-direction of return to mainstream work following acute mental illness. Participants: Five individuals who had attempted return to mainstream work following acute mental illness. Methods: In depth, semi-structured qualitative interviews with the five participants selected through purposive sampling. Results: The three main themes related to the workers' self-direction of their return to work experience were (a) worker self-management, (b) workers' 'personal' partnerships and (c) workplace…partnerships. Conclusion: Personal and workplace partnerships are integral to supporting workers as they take ownership of their full potential and self-direct return to mainstream work.
Keywords: Mental illness, return to work, self-direction, partnerships
Abstract: Objective: Social firms or enterprises aim to offer sustainable employment in supportive workplaces for people who are disadvantaged in the labour market. Therefore, this study sought to explore employees' views in one social firm about the features of their workplace that they found supportive. Participants: Seven employees were recruited, all of whom experienced persistent mental illness, and had worked in this social firm for between eleven months and six years. Methods: A semi-structured…interview, the Work Environment Impact Scale (version 2.0), was used to explore participants' views of their workplace and to rate how its physical and social characteristics impacted them. Participants also rated their job satisfaction with a modified Indiana Job Satisfaction Scale. Results: Features of the social firm workplace identified by these employees as contributing to their sustained employment and satisfaction were the rewards, task demands, work schedule, and workplace interactions with supervisors and other co-workers. From their views, guiding principles for the development of supportive workplaces and evaluation of their capacity to afford sustainable employment were derived. Conclusions: This study adds to current knowledge about workplace supports from an employee perspective, and is of relevance for informing future social firm development, workplace design and evaluation.
Keywords: Social enterprise, job tenure, workplace environment
Abstract: A major barrier to employment for people with mental illness is limited access to supportive and non-discriminatory workplaces. Social firms are businesses committed to employing up to 50% of people with a disability or other disadvantage and to providing supportive work environments that benefit workers. Little research has been conducted to understand the features and social processes that support the vocational experiences of employees with mental health issues in social firms. Objective: This ethnographic…study sought to explore the experiences of nine employees at one Australian social firm. Participants: Nine employees of a social firm, with and without mental illness. Methods: Study methods used included participant observation, interviewing and document analysis. Results and conclusions: The study highlights the complexity of running a socially-invested business, and the importance of cross-sectoral partnerships to support their operational success. Natural workplace supports, adequate training and support infrastructure and enabling participation in the business, were identified as important to creating a supportive workplace. Partnerships within the workplace and in support of the workplace are discussed. Future growth and development of partnerships are recommended to support the establishment of social firms.
Keywords: Social enterprise, natural supports, work culture
Abstract: Objective: To better understand why employment success is low, a case study was conducted to examine the influence of place on access to employment for persons with serious mental illness (SMI) residing in two northeastern Ontario communities (Rebeiro, in progress). Methods: Community-based participatory research methods were used to engage persons who experience SMI, decision-makers and providers in the research. Forty-six interviews were conducted, complemented by primary and secondary quantitative data sources. Results: While…most consumers consider employment to be a key element of their recovery, employment rates for persons with SMI remain limited in northeastern Ontario, Canada. The findings of this case study reveal the importance of collaborative partnerships to fostering better employment outcomes in northeastern Ontario. Conclusion: The challenges of collaboration due to rural and northern tensions, as well as various jurisdictional and funding tensions existing at the level of community support the case for partnerships in the provision of employment services in northern and rural places.
Keywords: Employment, mental illness, northern and rural places, collaborative practices
Abstract: Background: This paper presents the vocational journey of a young British woman, Keeley, who changed her career aspirations to become a mental health worker following an episode of significant mental health difficulties. Keeley's story illustrates the application of the locally developed WORKS framework in conceptualising and supporting Keeley's vocational recovery. Approach: A narrative approach highlights the partnerships that developed between Keeley, the Occupational Therapist, Sally, and the User Support and Employment Service.…Findings: The WORKS framework supported Keeley and Sally to collaboratively develop a successful employment pathway. Strategies, including attention to Keeley's view of her capabilities and aspirations, volunteer placements, support of peers, employer engagement and planning for sustainable employment, assisted Keeley to establish her chosen career. Keeley's journey highlights the leadership role that mental health services can assume by providing paid work for people with experience of mental health difficulties.