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Table 2 Common RTW prognostic factors

From: Factors affecting return to work after injury or illness: best evidence synthesis of systematic reviews

Study Health condition Direction of association
Common for positive effect on RTW outcomes
Personal factors
Higher education and socioeconomic status
 Clay 2010 MSK +
 Steenstra 2005 MSK None
 Cornelius 2011 Mental +
 Detaille 2009 Other +
 Allebeck 2004 Other +
Higher self-efficacy/optimistic perceptions and expectations
 Clay 2010 MSK +
 Iles 2008 MSK +
 Kuijer 2006 MSK +
 Cornelius 2011 Mental +
 O’Neil 2010 Cardiac +
Body structure and function factors
Lower severity of injury/illness
 Clay 2010 MSK +
 Kuijpers 2004 MSK +/−
 Lagerveld 2010 Mental +
 Nightingale 2007 Brain injury +
 van Velzen 2009 Brain injury None
 Detaille 2009 Other +
Environmental factors
Multidisciplinary interventions
 Dick 2011 MSK +
 Hoffman 2007 MSK +
 Norlund 2009 MSK +
 Ravenek 2010 MSK +/−
 Tveito 2004 MSK None
 van Geen 2007 MSK +
 van Middlekoop 2011 MSK +
 Williams 2007 MSK +
 Désiron 2011 MSK + Other +
 Hoefsmit 2012 MSK + Other +
 van Oostrom 2009 MSK + Other +
 Turner-Stokes 2005 Brain injury None
 de Boer 2011 Cancer +
Occupational care/training
 Cornelius 2011 Mental +
 Tamminga 2010 Cancer +
Educational interventions
 Brox 2008 MSK +
 Heymans 2005 MSK +
 Liddle 2007 MSK +
 Meijer 2005 MSK +/−
 Tveito 2004 MSK None
 Tamminga 2010 Cancer +
Psychological interventions
 Meijer 2005 MSK +/−
 Palmer 2012 MSK +
 van Middlekoop 2011 MSK +
 Corbière 2006 MSK + Mental +
 Arends 2012 Mental
 Nieuwenhuijsen 2008 Mental Insufficient
 de Boer 2011 Cancer +
Stakeholder participation in RTW process
 Carroll 2010 MSK +
 Franche 2005 MSK +
 Cornelius 2011 Mental +
Work modification/accommodation
 Carroll 2010 MSK +
 Dick 2011 MSK +
 Franche 2005 MSK +
 Palmer 2012 MSK +
 Williams 2007 MSK +
 Tamminga 2010 Cancer +
RTW coordination
 Franche 2005 MSK +
 Schandelmaier 2012 MSK + Other +
Early intervention
 Carroll 2010 MSK +
 Hoefsmit 2012 MSK + Other +
Outpatient/comprehensive treatment
 Hlobil 2005 MSK +
 Tveito 2004 MSK +
 Shepherd 2012 Coronary heart disease +
Activities and participation factors
Preinjury employment
 Hansson 2004 MSK +
 Cornelius 2011 Mental +
 Nightingale 2007 Brain injury +
Common for negative effect on RTW outcomes
Personal factors
Older age
 Hansson 2004 MSK
 Steenstra 2005 MSK
 Verkerk 2012 MSK +/−
 Cornelius 2011 Mental
 Hensing 2004 Mental +/−
 Lagerveld 2010 Mental
 Willemse-van Son 2007 Brain injury
 O’Neil 2010 Cardiac
 Perk 2004 Stroke, Coronary artery disease
 Dekkers-Sanchez 2008 Other
 Detaille 2009 Other
Female
 Hansson 2004 MSK +/−
 Steenstra 2005 MSK
 Verkerk 2012 MSK +/−
 Cornelius 2011 Mental
 Hensing 2004 Mental
 van Velzen 2009 Brain injury None
 Detaille 2009 Other
Body structure and function factors
Higher pain/impairment/disability
 Hansson 2004 MSK
 Kent 2008 MSK +/−
 Kuijpers 2004 MSK +/−
 Steenstra 2005 MSK
 Verkerk 2012 MSK
 Cornelius 2011 Mental
 Willemse-van Son 2007 Brain injury
 Detaille 2009 Other
Depression
 Iles 2008 MSK None
 Cornelius 2011 Mental
 Lagerveld 2010 Mental
 Van Velzen 2009 Brain injury None
 O’Neil 2010 Cardiac
 Detaille 2009 Other
Environmental factors
Higher physical work demands
 Hansson 2004 MSK
 Steenstra 2005 MSK
 Verkerk 2012 MSK
 Perk 2004 Stroke, Coronary artery disease
 Allebeck 2004 Other
Activities and participation factors
Previous sick leave
 Hansson 2004 MSK
 Kuijpers 2004 MSK +/−
 Cornelius 2011 Mental
 Lagerveld 2010 Mental
 Willemse-van Son 2007 Brain injury
 Allebeck 2004 Other
 Dekkers-Sanchez 2008 Other
 Detaille 2009 Other
Activity limitation/participation restriction
 Kent 2008 MSK +/−
 Verkerk 2012 MSK +/−
 Lagerveld 2010 Mental
 Nightingale 2007 Brain injury
 Van Velzen 2009 Brain injury
 Detaille 2009 Other
Common for no effect on RTW outcomes
Body structure and function factors
Anxiety and stress
 Iles 2008 MSK None
 Cornelius 2011 Mental
 Van Velzen 2009 Brain injury None
Inconclusive
Personal factors
Marital status/Nnumber of dependents
 Steenstra 2005 MSK None
 Allebeck 2004 Other None
Lower social support
 Steenstra 2005 MSK
 Hensing 2004 Mental +/−
Perceived high work demands
 Hansson 2004 MSK
 Hensing 2004 Mental Insufficient
Higher work satisfaction
 Hansson 2004 MSK +
 Iles 2008 MSK None
 Steenstra 2005 MSK None
 Dekkers-Sanchez 2008 Other Insufficient
Smoking
 Hansson 2004 MSK None
 Steenstra 2005 MSK None
Fear avoidance beliefs
 Iles 2008 MSK
Psychosocial factors
 Kent 2008 MSK +/−
 Hensing 2004 Mental +/−
Medical history/co-morbidities
 Kent 2008 MSK +/−
 Steenstra 2005 MSK None
 Lagerveld 2010 Mental _
Alcohol problems
 Hensing 2004 Mental +/−
 Willemse-van Son 2007 Brain injury
Body structure and function factors
Clinical factors
 Kent 2008 MSK +/−
 van Velzen 2009 Brain injury None
Environmental factors
Workplace social support
 Campbell 2013 MSK +
 Hansson 2004 MSK None
 Hensing 2004 Mental Insufficent
Higher compensation
 Clay 2010 MSK
 Iles 2008 MSK Insufficient
 Steenstra 2005 MSK
Working longer shifts
 Steenstra 2005 MSK None
Occupation type/White vs. blue collar
 Clay 2010 MSK None
 Kuijpers 2004 MSK +/−
 Steenstra 2005 MSK None
 Hensing 2004 Mental Insufficient
 Detaille 2009 Other +
Company size
 Steenstra 2005 MSK None
Higher locus of control/decision latitude
 Iles 2008 MSK Insufficient
 Hoefsmit 2012 MSK + Other +/−
 Hensing 2004 Mental Insufficient
 Allebeck 2004 Other +
Encouragement
 Tamminga 2010 Cancer +/−
Exercise
 Oesch 2010 MSK +
 Palmer 2012 MSK +
 Tveito 2004 MSK +
Pamphlet
 Tveito 2004 MSK None
Enhanced primary care/Medication
 Nieuwenhuijsen 2008 Mental Insufficient
Early contact with worker by workplace
 Franche 2005 MSK +
 Williams 2007 MSK +
Graded activity/exposure
 Macedo 2010 MSK +/−
 van der Giessen 2012 MSK +/−
Physical and work conditioning
 Meijer 2005 MSK +/−
 Schaafsma 2013 MSK +
Back belts
 Tveito 2004 MSK None
Lower-intensity intervention (vs. higher)
 Palmer 2012 MSK +
 van Geen 2007 MSK None
 Hoefsmit 2012 MSK + Other +/−
 de Boer 2011 Cancer none
Activation & time-contingent interventions
 Hoefsmit 2012 MSK + Other +/−
Disability management programs/Generic interventions
 Gensby 2012 MSK + Other Insufficient
 Hoefsmit 2012 MSK + Other +/−
Psychotherapy-based workplace interventions
 Stergiopoulos 2011 Mental +
Vocational rehabilitation programs
 Baldwin 2011 Brain injury +
 Fadyl 2009 Brain injury +
 Khan 2009 Multiple sclerosis Insufficient
  1. Direction of association with RTW: positive (+), negative (−), conflicting (+/−), no association (none), or insufficient evidence
  2. MSK musculoskeletal, RTW return to work