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Psychosocial factors at work, musculoskeletal disorders and the implementation of guidelines principles

Bartys, Serena (2003) Psychosocial factors at work, musculoskeletal disorders and the implementation of guidelines principles. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    The burden placed on society as a result of musculoskeletal disorders is substantial,
    requiring effective management especially in an occupational context. Recent
    occupational health guidelines recommend addressing potentially detrimental
    psychosocial factors in the management of workers sick-listed with musculoskeletal
    disorders, but the specific influence on absence from occupational, as well as clinical,
    psychosocial risk factors (termed 'blue' and 'yellow' flags) remains ill understood. In
    addition, the related principles of contemporary occupational health guidelines
    recommendations, seeking to reduce return-to-work times and improve work retention,
    have not been formally tested.
    A four-year study was carried out in two phases:
    Phase 1 comprised a workforce survey of a large multi-site company in the UK
    (n=7,838). Data on clinical and occupational psychosocial factors were collected, along
    with data on self-reported symptoms. Absence data were collected, both retrospectively
    and prospectively.
    Phase 2 was a quasi-experimental, controlled trial of an occupational guidelines-based
    intervention for workers with musculoskeletal disorders. Occupational health advisors
    delivered the experimental intervention over a 12-month period at two sites (n=1,435),
    with three matched sites acting as controls, delivering management as usual (n=1,483).
    Absence data were collected for both experimental and control sites over a 12-month
    follow up period, and psychosocial data were collected from the experimental sites at
    baseline and follow-up.
    The results confirmed an association between the psychosocial work environment and
    musculoskeletal disorders. Psychosocial risk factors (blue and yellow flags) predicted the
    likelihood of future absence, but not its duration; routine psychosocial screening to
    predict return-to-work does not appear to be feasible. Organisational obstacles (black
    flags) were identified that compromised the experimental intervention, and this precluded
    reliable conclusions regarding the effects of its specific components. Nevertheless, from
    a pragmatic perspective, implementation of certain guidelines principles (generating a
    supportive network with 'all players onside') was a successful strategy for reducing
    absence due to musculoskeleta'l disorders.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Sick leave management Management Psychology Industrial hygiene Medicine, Industrial Management Psychology Industrial hygiene
    Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
    H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
    Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
    Depositing User: Sharon Beastall
    Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2010 12:03
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:54


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