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June/July 2012 (vol. 09/1)

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Research Plus

Self-reported work-related illness

This systematic review (32 studies) examines the validity of the self-assessment of work-related illness. Thirteen studies covered musculoskeletal disorders, eight skin conditions, four respiratory illness, two latex allergy and two hearing problems. Agreement between self-report and expert assessment of work-related illness was low to moderate – the best agreement was for hearing loss. The power of self-reported symptoms to predict expert assessment was variable: sensitivity (correct identification of having the condition) was often moderate to high, but specificity (correct identification of not having the condition) was generally low to moderate. There was better agreement between workers and physicians on the work-relatedness of a condition compared with the non-work- relatedness.

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 2012; 85: 229–251.  http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00420-011-0662-3?state=cookieless

Occupational Health at Work June/July 2012 (vol. 09/1) pp40