Title

Factors associated with time loss from work following a work-compensable injury

Date of Completion

January 1994

Keywords

Health Sciences, Occupational Health and Safety|Health Sciences, Rehabilitation and Therapy|Psychology, Industrial

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

On a yearly basis, nearly 600,000 individuals sustain work-related injuries that involve over 6 months time loss from work. These individuals, representing 20% of all lost-time injuries, account for over 85% of workers' compensation costs associated with lost wage replacement and medical care. Health care practitioners seek to identify factors associated with duration of time loss from work so that individuals at risk for delayed return may be identified and interventions designed to facilitate their return to work.^ The purpose of this study was threefold: (a) to integrate results of current research with work-disabled populations into a common framework, (b) to identify components of the framework that warrant study, and (c) to empirically test relationships of identified components with two measures of duration of time loss from work following injury. The two dependent variables were total days lost from work and days lost from work after admission to a work-rehabilitation facility. Independent variables included factors existing prior to injury onset (i.e., age, education, and number of prior work-compensable injuries) and factors present at admission to a work-rehabilitation facility (i.e., perceived health locus of control, attribution of cause for injury, perceived available social support, adaptive flexibility, litigation status, and wage compensation ratio).^ Four research hypotheses were stated to examine relationships between independent and dependent variables. Three of the hypotheses were tested using correlational and/or hierarchical multiple regression analysis. One-way ANOVA was used to test the remaining hypothesis. The research sample consisted of 125 individuals with lost-time work-compensable physical injuries admitted to one of five out-patient work-rehabilitation facilities located in Massachusetts and Connecticut.^ Results indicated that individuals at risk for increased total days lost from work had weaker beliefs in the influence of persons with authority on their recovery, had higher levels of concrete experience adaptive flexibility, and were involved in litigation. Individuals at risk for increased days lost from work after admission to a work-rehabilitation facility were older and had higher levels of concrete experience adaptive flexibility. The theoretical and clinical significance of the findings are discussed. ^