April/May 2012 (vol. 08/6)

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Research Plus

Measuring social support in RTW

A questionnaire-based tool to measure psychosocial factors influencing return to work from injury or illness has been validated, and is applicable for the identification of workplace barriers to recovery and for research. A prototype Support for Workers with Disability Scale (SWDS), developed in a previous study, included 61 positive and negatively worded items, such as: ‘my supervisor willingly provided time off to attend appointment’, or ‘made me feel guilty about needing accommodations’; ‘co-workers were willing to listen to my problems’; and ‘family and friends showed they supported me’. It was tested on 152 workers (63% female, 30% in healthcare) returning to work from predominantly physical health conditions. Factor analysis reduced the scale to 41 items in three subscales – factors related to supervisor, co-worker, and family and friends – which explained most of the variance.

Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2012; online first: doi: 10.1007/s10926-012-9357-1.


Occupational Health at Work April/May 2012 (vol. 08/6) pp48