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Work. 2014;49(3):455-64. doi: 10.3233/WOR-131722.

Enhancing the vocational outcomes of people with chronic disabilities caused by a musculoskeletal condition: development and evaluation of content of self-management training modules.

Author information

  • 1Division of Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
  • 2Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
  • 3Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.



No self-management interventions have been developed to empower those chronically disabled by a musculoskeletal condition to find and/or remain at work.


Developand evaluate the content of two self-management training modules to improve vocational outcomes for those with chronic musculoskeletal disorders.


Stanford University's Chronic Disease Self-Management Program provided the framework for the new modules. Focus groups with the eightpersons with workdisabilities and concept-mapping sessions with the 12 experienced vocational rehabilitation professionals were conducted to identify factors and themes contributing to workers remaining/returning to work post-injury. Five experienced self-management trainers reviewed the modules for consistency with self-management principles.


Two new self-management modules: 'Navigating the System' and 'Managing a Return to Work' were developed.The persons with work disabilitiesgenerated four themes: accepting and coping with injury; skills to manage pain and life; positive working relationships and, re-inventing self, whereas the rehabilitation professionals identified three themes:communication and support of others; the injured worker's abilities and resources, and knowledge and education.


Anintervention developed to enhance self-management skills and facilitate positive vocational outcomes of those seeking to return to work post-injury was confirmed as relevant by persons with work disabilities, rehabilitation professionals and self-management trainers.


Rehabilitation; patient education; recovery of function; work; worker empowerment

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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