Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 215–231 | Cite as

Common Psychosocial Factors Predicting Return to Work After Common Mental Disorders, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Cancers: A Review of Reviews Supporting a Cross-Disease Approach

  • Andrea Gragnano
  • Alessia Negrini
  • Massimo Miglioretti
  • Marc Corbière


Purpose This systematic review aimed at identifying the common psychosocial factors that facilitate or hinder the return to work (RTW) after a sick leave due to common mental disorders (CMDs), cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), or cancers (CAs). Methods We conducted a review of reviews searching 13 databases from 1994 to 2016 for peer-reviewed, quantitative, cohort studies investigating factors influencing RTW after a CMD, CVD, or CA. Then, for each disease we identified additional cohort studies published after the date of the latest review included. Data were extracted following a three steps best-evidence synthesis method: the extraction of results about each predictor from studies within each single review and in the additional papers; the synthesis of results across the reviews and additional papers investigating the same disease; and the synthesis of results across the diseases. Results The search strategy identified 1029 unique records from which 27 reviews and 75 additional studies underwent comprehensive review. 14 reviews and 32 additional cohort studies met eligibility criteria. Specific predictors of RTW with different levels of evidence are provided for each disease. We found four common facilitators of RTW (job control, work ability, perceived good health and high socioeconomic status), and six barriers of RTW (job strain, anxiety, depression, comorbidity, older age and low education). Conclusion This is the first review to systematically analyze commonalities in RTW after CMDs, CVDs, or CAs. The common factors identified indicate that the RTW process presents many similarities across various diseases, thus supporting the validity of a cross-disease approach.


Return to work Prognostic factors Mental disorders Cardiovascular diseases Neoplasms 



We would like to acknowledge the contributions made by Maryse Gagnon (IRSST) and Lynda Cloutier (IRSST) to this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en Sécurité du travailMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de MontréalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of Education, Career CounsellingUniversité du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)MontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly

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