Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 63–77 | Cite as

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the Workplace: A Descriptive Study of Workers Experiencing PTSD Resulting from Work Injury

  • Heather A. MacDonald
  • Victor Colotla
  • Stephen Flamer
  • Harry Karlinsky


In view of the relatively understudied status of work-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this study retrospectively examined 44 workers whose claims were accepted for workers' compensation benefits in the absence of significant coexisting physical injuries. The majority of workers (82%) directly experienced the traumatic event while the rest witnessed the event. Over half (54%) of those directly experiencing the event were involved in armed robberies, whereas 38% were physically or verbally assaulted in nonrobbery situations. Almost half of the workers were assigned a coexisting mood or anxiety diagnosis. Psychoactive medication was prescribed to 66% of workers, and 93% of all workers received some form of psychological/psychiatric treatment. Twenty-three percent of the group received vocational rehabilitation assistance and only 43% returned to their previous job with the accident employer. Findings suggest that work-related PTSD is both complex and disabling and merits further investigation.

stress disorders postraumatic/psychology stress disorders posttraumatic/rehabilitation workers' compensation disability injured workers accidents, occupational/psychology 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather A. MacDonald
    • 1
  • Victor Colotla
    • 2
  • Stephen Flamer
    • 2
  • Harry Karlinsky
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Workers'Compensation Board of British ColumbiaRichmondCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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