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June/July 2012 (vol. 09/1)

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Research Plus

In pain but in work

Workers who remain at work despite non-specific chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) differ in physical and psychological health characteristics compared with workers with CMP but who go off sick, according to this Dutch study. All participants had CMP lasting more than six months and had been working at least 20 hours/week – 122 remained in work and were referred for vocational rehabilitation; 119 went off sick. Those remaining in work had lower levels of fear avoidance, pain catastrophisation and perceived workload, and higher levels of pain acceptance, life control and pain self-efficacy beliefs. There were no differences in physical activity, active coping and work satisfaction. Six main factors predict whether an individual is likely to be in the sickness-absence or remaining-at-work group: pain intensity, duration, and acceptance, and perceived workload, mental health and psychological distress.

Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2012; online first: doi: 10.1007/s10926-012-9360-6.

Occupational Health at Work June/July 2012 (vol. 09/1) pp39