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BMJ Open. 2012 Mar 2;2(2):e000400. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000400. Print 2012.

Factors predicting work status 3 months after injury: results from the Prospective Outcomes of Injury Study.

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1
Injury Prevention Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Few studies examine predictors of work status following injury beyond injuries presenting to a hospital or emergency department. This paper examines the combined influences of socio-demographic, occupational, injury and pre-existing health and lifestyle factors as predictors of work status 3 months after hospitalised and non-hospitalised injury in a cohort of injured New Zealand workers.

DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study.

SETTING:

The Prospective Outcomes of Injury Study, New Zealand.

PARTICIPANTS:

2626 workforce active participants were identified from the Prospective Outcomes of Injury Study; 11 participants with missing outcome responses were excluded.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:

The primary outcome of interest was 'not working' at the time of interview.

RESULTS:

720 (27%) reported 'not working' 3 months after injury. The most important pre-injury predictors of not working following injury found by multidimensional modelling were as follows: low or unknown income, financial insecurity, physical work tasks, temporary employment, long week schedules, obesity, perceived threat to life and hospital admission. Contrary to expectations, workers reporting less frequent exercise pre-injury had lower odds of work absence. Pre-injury psychosocial and health factors were not associated with not working.

CONCLUSION:

Certain pre-injury socio-demographic, physical work, work organisation, lifestyle and injury-related factors were associated with not working 3 months after injury. If these findings are confirmed, intervention strategies aimed at improving return to work should address multiple dimensions of both the worker and the workplace.

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