, Volume 2, Issue 3-4, pp 225-237

Perceived Justice of Compensation Process for Return-to-Work: Development and Validation of a Scale

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Abstract

The experience of injured workers is influenced by multiple systems—the workplace, the healthcare system, and the workers’ compensation system. Little research has been conducted on the impact of the workers’ compensation system on injured workers’ personal experience and on the justice of the workers’ compensation process. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a measure of the justice of the compensation process. Injured workers (n = 446) with musculoskeletal injuries, in Ontario, Canada, filing a lost-time claim, completed a telephone survey 6 months post-injury. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted with two separate samples, and concurrent validity was examined. The four hypothesized factors emerged: distributive justice, procedural justice, informational justice, and interpersonal justice factors accounted for 96.3% of the variance. Confirmatory factor analyses had satisfactory fit indices to confirm the initial model. Alpha coefficients ranged from 0.86 to 0.92. Concurrent validity of the scale was supported: relationships of distributive and procedural justice with claim status, claim processing delay, perception of going back to work too soon, duration of work accommodation, and satisfaction with work accommodation were in the expected direction. Workers’ experience of the justice of the compensation process can now be measured with a psychometrically sound and theoretically based instrument. This instrument offers researchers the opportunity to focus on the justice of the compensation process of injured workers. It can increase the attention that policy-makers, compensation management, healthcare providers, and other return-to-work stakeholders give to the impact of the compensation system and provide a broadened view of workers’ experience.