Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 453–457 | Cite as

Improving Return to Work Research

  • Glenn Pransky
  • Robert Gatchel
  • Steven J. Linton
  • Patrick Loisel


Background: Despite considerable multidisciplinary research on return to work (RTW), there has been only modest progress in implementation of study results, and little change in overall rates of work disability in developed countries. Methods: Thirty RTW researchers, representing over 20 institutions, assembled to review the current state of the art in RTW research, to identify promising areas for further development, and to provide direction for future investigations. Results and Conclusion: Six major themes were selected as priority areas: early risk prediction; psychosocial, behavioral and cognitive interventions; physical treatments; the challenge of implementing evidence in the workplace context; effective methods to engage multiple stakeholders; and identification of outcomes that are relevant to both RTW stakeholders and different phases of the RTW process. Understanding and preventing delayed RTW will require application of new concepts and study designs, better measures of determinants and outcomes, and more translational research. Greater stakeholder involvement and commitment, and methods to address the unique challenges of each situation are required.

Key Words

return to work occupational diseases/rehabilitation work-related musculoskeletal disorders outcomes research 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn Pransky
    • 1
  • Robert Gatchel
    • 2
  • Steven J. Linton
    • 3
  • Patrick Loisel
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for Disability ResearchLiberty Mutual Research Institute for SafetyHopkintonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, College of ScienceThe University of Texas at ArlingtonArlington
  3. 3.Department of Behavioral, Social and Legal Sciences—PsychologyÖrebro UniversityÖrebroSweden
  4. 4.Disability Prevention Research and Training CentreLongueuilCanada
  5. 5.Department of Surgery (orthopaedic division)Université de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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