Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 459–474

Prognosis and the Identification of Workers Risking Disability: Research Issues and Directions for Future Research


    • Department of Behavioral, Social and Legal Sciences—PsychologyÖrebro University
  • Doug Gross
    • Department of Physical TherapyUniversity of Alberta
  • Izabela Z. Schultz
    • Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special EducationUniversity of British Columbia
  • Chris Main
    • Calderbank Research UnitUniversity of Manchester
  • Pierre Côté
    • Institute for Work and Health
  • Glenn Pransky
    • Center for Disability ResearchLiberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety
  • William Johnson
    • School of Health Management and PolicyArizona State University

DOI: 10.1007/s10926-005-8028-x

Cite this article as:
Linton, S.J., Gross, D., Schultz, I.Z. et al. J Occup Rehabil (2005) 15: 459. doi:10.1007/s10926-005-8028-x


Introduction: Screening procedures based on prognostic data are an important prerequisite for prevention of disability due to low-back pain. This paper reviews the research on prognosis to delineate the most pertinent research challenges, and outlines directions for future research to improve the scientific quality and screening accuracy of prognostic efforts. Methods: Reviews of prognosis research were examined to identify key methodological and research issues. Results: Certain issues such as sampling procedures, research designs, data analyses, prognostic indicators, and follow-up procedures limit the value of prior studies. Absence of a clear conceptual framework hampers interpretation of findings and moving research questions forward. The recurrent nature of back pain and the need to effectively include the impact of employer actions and the job market were also identified as significant issues. Conclusions: Future research will be enhanced by addressing conceptual and definitional issues, applying tested and sensible measures, and careful follow-up of the study population.

Key Words

screeningdisabilityconceptual modelsmethodology

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005