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December/January 2011/2012 (vol. 08/4)

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Mental health and return to work

A systematic review of return to work (RTW) for workers with common mental health disorders identifies a lack of coordination between the different systems in the rehabilitation process – social insurance, mental healthcare and occupational rehabilitation. Eight medium or high quality studies were included in a ‘meta-synthesis’ – a systematic method of interpreting qualitative studies. Employees find it difficult to judge the appropriate time to return, and when they are back at work several factors impede their ability to implement planned RTW solutions. Individual factors include perfectionism, high sense of responsibility and low self-efficacy; work factors include lack of social support and organisational structures complicating the workplace adjustments and phased return. There is a tendency to rush to resume work tasks too quickly with little protection against exceeding work capacity.

Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 2011; online first: doi:10.5271/sjweh.3257

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Occupational Health at Work December/January 2011/2012 (vol. 08/4) pp41