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Work Outcomes in Patients Who Stay at Work Despite Musculoskeletal Pain
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 14:20 authored by Andy Cochrane, Niamh M. Higgins, Conor Rothwell, Jennifer Ashton, Roisin Breen, Oriel Corcoran, Oliver FitzGerald, Pamela Gallagher, Deirdre Desmond
Purpose: To assess self-reported work impacts and associations between psychosocial risk factors and work impairment amongst workers seeking care for musculoskeletal pain while continuing to work. Methods: Patients were recruited from Musculoskeletal Assessment Clinics at 5 hospitals across Ireland. Participants completed questionnaires including assessments of work impairment (Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire), work ability (single item from the Work Ability Index) and work performance (Work Role Functioning Questionnaire; WRFQ). Logistic and hierarchical regressions were conducted to analyse the relation between psychosocial variables and work outcomes. Results: 155 participants (53.5% female; mean age = 46.50 years) who were working at the time of assessment completed the questionnaires. Absenteeism was low, yet 62.6% were classified as functioning poorly according to the WRFQ; 52.3% reported having poor work ability. Logistic regression analyses indicated that higher work role functioning was associated with higher pain self-efficacy (OR 1.51); better work ability was associated with older age (OR 1.063) and lower functional restriction (OR 0.93); greater absenteeism was associated with lower pain self-efficacy (OR 0.65) and poorer work expectancy (OR 1.18). Multiple regression analysis indicated that greater presenteeism was associated with higher pain intensity (β = 0.259) and lower pain self-efficacy (β = − 0.385). Conclusions: While individuals continue to work with musculoskeletal pain, their work performance can be adversely affected. Interventions that target mutable factors, such as pain self-efficacy, may help reduce the likelihood of work impairment.
Publication titleJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation