Predictive factors of sustained return to work for persons with musculoskeletal disorders who participated in rehabilitation

Marie Lydell, Birgitta Grahn, Jorgen Mansson, Amir Baigi, Bertil Marklund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) account for the majority of total morbidity cases in the working-age Swedish population. These disorders are thought to be the reason given for one-third of total certified sick leave requests. In addition to the high cost to society, MSD involve both physical and emotional suffering, pain and financial and social problems for the injured persons. The aim of this study was to identify predictive multidimensional factors for sustainable return to work (RTW) in a long-term follow-up persons with MSD. During the period 1992-1999, 385 persons participated in a rehabilitation program. Ten years later, 354 of these took part in a prospective follow-up study. The average post-rehabilitation time was ten years (range = 7-13 years) and 243 persons (69%) completed a questionnaire. The "working full-time" group (n = 110) and the "sick-listed" group (n = 73) were included in the study. The two groups were compared in terms of predictors for RTW. Multiple stepwise logistic regression and bivariate analysis, as well as parametric and non-parametric tests, were used to identify predictive factors. The number of sick-listed days before rehabilitation, age, self-rated pain, life events, gender, physical capacity, self-rated functional capacity, educational level and light physical labor were predictors of long-term RTW. Return to work an be facilitated by planning at an early stage of the certified sick leave period using instrument that take these predictors into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-328
JournalWork: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Physiotherapy (Closed 2012) (013042000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health

Free keywords

  • returning to
  • predictive factors
  • physical capacity
  • pain
  • disorders
  • musculoskeletal
  • Functional capacity
  • multidimensional factors
  • work
  • certified sick leave
  • work capacity


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