Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 182–195 | Cite as

Workplace-Based Work Disability Prevention Interventions for Workers with Common Mental Health Conditions: A Review of the Literature

  • Georgia Pomaki
  • Renée-Louise Franche
  • Eleanor Murray
  • Noushin Khushrushahi
  • Thomas M. Lampinen


Introduction To summarize evidence on workplace-based work disability prevention (WDP) interventions in workers with common mental health conditions (CMHCs). Primary outcomes of interest were work absence duration and work functioning; secondary outcomes were quality of life, and economic costs. Methods We conducted a systematic literature search in 5 electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Web of Science) for studies published from 2007 to 2009. Two reviewers screened for studies: (1) Targeting workers with CMHCs absent from, or struggling at, work; (2) evaluating workplace-based WDP interventions; (3) assessing our primary outcome(s); and (4) with controlled trials. Quality assessment (using 29 criteria) was performed by two reviewers. Results Our search yielded 671 abstracts: 8 eligible studies and of sufficient quality. We identified three main intervention elements: (a) Facilitation of access to clinical treatment; (b) Workplace-based high-intensity psychological intervention; and (c) Facilitation of navigation through the disability management system. Moderate evidence was found that facilitation of treatment improved work functioning, quality of life and economic outcomes, with limited evidence for work absence duration. Moderate evidence was found that psychological interventions, primarily cognitive-behavioral therapy, improved work functioning, quality of life, and economic outcomes. Moderate evidence indicated that facilitation of navigation through the disability management system improved work absence duration. Conclusions Workplace-based interventions could improve work disability outcomes for workers with CMHCs. Facilitation of access to clinical treatment, and workplace-based high-intensity psychological intervention were most effective in improving work functioning and quality of life, and in reducing costs.


Return to work Work functioning Quality of life Economic outcomes Mental health Interventions 



We would like to thank Genevieve Finn for her organizational assistance and Phil Mah for his valuable comments regarding work disability prevention. We would also like to thank the study authors for sharing with us the details of their research. Financial support for this review came from the Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare (OHSAH) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgia Pomaki
    • 1
    • 5
  • Renée-Louise Franche
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eleanor Murray
    • 2
    • 3
  • Noushin Khushrushahi
    • 4
  • Thomas M. Lampinen
    • 2
  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Institute for Work and HealthTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Shareholder Association for Research and EducationVancouverCanada
  5. 5.VancouverCanada

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