Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 557–568

A Developmental Conceptualization of Return to Work

  • Amanda E. Young
  • Richard T. Roessler
  • Radoslaw Wasiak
  • Kathryn M. McPherson
  • Mireille N. M. van Poppel
  • J. R. Anema
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10926-005-8034-z

Cite this article as:
Young, A.E., Roessler, R.T., Wasiak, R. et al. J Occup Rehabil (2005) 15: 557. doi:10.1007/s10926-005-8034-z

Abstract

Introduction: Although return to work (RTW) is a phenomenon that has been researched for many years, our ability to understand and improve outcomes is still limited. As an avenue for advancing the field, this paper presents an alternative way of thinking about RTW. Method: The conceptualization was constructed based on a review of the literature and the comments of RTW and workers' compensation researchers. Results: RTW is presented as an evolving process, comprising four key phases: i.e., “off work,” “work re-entry,” “retention,” and “advancement.” In addition, multiple phase-specific outcomes that may be used to evaluate RTW success are advanced. Conclusion: Broadening thinking about RTW to take into consideration the complexities of its developmental nature holds promise for understanding and improving RTW, as it not only clarifies the importance of incremental milestones, but also facilitates intervention choice and evaluation.

Key Words

RTW outcomes stakeholders assessment work disability 

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda E. Young
    • 1
    • 5
  • Richard T. Roessler
    • 2
  • Radoslaw Wasiak
    • 1
  • Kathryn M. McPherson
    • 3
  • Mireille N. M. van Poppel
    • 4
  • J. R. Anema
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Disability ResearchLiberty Mutual Research Institute for SafetyHopkinton
  2. 2.Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resources, and Communication Disorders, College of Education and Health ProfessionsUniversity of ArkansasFayetteville
  3. 3.Centre for Physical Rehabilitation Research, Division of Rehabilitation and Occupation StudiesAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand
  4. 4.Department of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical CenterInstitute for Research in Extramural MedicineAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Center for Disability ResearchLiberty Mutual Research Institute for SafetyHopkintonUSA

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