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August/September 2008 (vol. 05/2)

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Research Plus

Return-to-work predictors

A systematic review was undertaken to identify psychosocial factors that might predict a failure to return to work in people with non-chronic non-specific low back pain (NSLBP), defined as lasting less than three months – 24 studies met inclusion criteria. An expectation of recovery was predictive of return to work (strong evidence from nine studies; four of high quality). There was strong evidence that depression, job satisfaction and stress were not predictive of work outcome. There was moderate evidence that fear-avoidance beliefs were predictive, and that anxiety was not predictive of work outcome. Psychosocial assessment in the non-chronic phase of NSLBP should focus on recovery expectation and fear-avoidance beliefs and behaviours.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2008; online first: doi: 10.1136/oem.2007.036046  http://oem.bmj.com/content/early/2008/04/16/oem.2007.036046.abstract

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Occupational Health at Work August/September 2008 (vol. 05/2) pp39