Research tells us that returning to work actively improves the recovery of injured workers. In fact, the sooner, the better – an extended amount of time away from work can actually harm recovery. Here’s what you need to know as a GP, including the evidence that underpins the idea that employment is beneficial to health and wellbeing.
What did the research find?
Two systematic reviews and meta-analyses found evidence that employment is beneficial to health. The data revealed:
- a causal relationship showing the health benefits of returning to work1
- returning to work can reverse adverse health effects that are associated with job loss and being out of work2, 3
- beneficial effects of work are higher for persons returning within six months4
- there is a protective effect of work on depression and general mental health5, 6
- the overall beneficial effects of work outweigh the risks of work7.
This is why rehabilitation and returning to work are central pillars of WA’s workers’ compensation scheme – it’s a key part of the recovery process for injured workers.
Want to explore the research yourself?
Here are links to the relevant research papers:
- Position Statement – Realising the health benefits of work
Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (2011) (PDF)
- Position Statement – Helping people return to work
Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (2010) (PDF)
- Working for a healthier tomorrow – Dame Carol Black’s Review of the health of Britain’s working age population Crown (2008) (PDF)
- Is work good for your health and well-being?
Waddell G & Burton AK (2006) (PDF)
- Fit for Work? Musculoskeletal disorders and the Australian Labour Market
Zheltoukhova K, Bevan S & Reich A (2012) (PDF)
Find out how to use our certificates of capacity to support your injury management plans and improve your patients’ return to work programs.
1, 2, 4Reuda, S et al. (2012) ‘Association of Returning to Work with Better Health in Working-Aged Adults: a systematic review’. American Journal of Public Health; 102:541-556.
3, 5, 7Waddell, G and Burton, K (2006) ‘Is work good for your health and wellbeing?’ London: TSO.
6Van der Noordt et al. (2014) ‘Health Effects of Employment: a systematic review of prospective studies’. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; 71:730-736.