Recovering from traumatic occupational hand injury following surgery: A biopsychosocial perspective
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Purpose Significant differences occur in the return-to-work (RTW) period amongst workers with an acute traumatic occupational hand injury. This study aimed to develop and test a comprehensive multivariate conceptual biopsychosocial model to predict RTW outcome. Method Patients presenting with an occupational hand injury were interviewed 7-10 days after their injury (N = 192) and again at 4 weeks after their injury (n = 150). Potential determinants from biomedical, work-related, demographic and psychosocial categories were studied simultaneously. Results A small sub-set of workers with an acute traumatic hand injury experienced chronic disability beyond 12 weeks. Analyzing the relationship between predictor variables and work absence resulted in the identification of the most important determinants of recovery. During the acute stages of recovery, injury severity, pain, self-efficacy, and living alone were the most important determinants of delayed RTW outcome. At 4 weeks post-injury, locus of control, injury severity, negative affect and living alone were the most important predictors of delayed RTW. Conclusion A number of prognostic variables were identified that influenced RTW outcome, which offer new and unique contributions to the field. Injury severity was not the most important determinant of RTW outcome; neither were factors identified in previous hand injury research, such as attribution of blame, significant predictors. Factors not examined in previous research, such as negative affect, were more important determinants of delayed RTW.
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Industrial and Organisational Psychology