Objectives The workers exposed to a traumatic event may display significant psychiatric disorders that may hinder their capability to return to the workplace. This study aimed to investigate the impact of psychological symptoms on return-to-work (RTW) in workers after their sustaining occupational injuries.
Methods A self-reported questionnaire including Brief Symptom Rating Scale (BSRS-50), Post-traumatic Symptom Checklist (PTSC), and RTW was sent to workers at 3 months after injury. At 12 months, all participants were contacted again to determine whether or not they had RTW.
Results A total of 2001 workers completed the questionnaire (response rate 45.5%) at 3 months after injury, among them, 1149 had returned to work. Among the 852 who were unable to return to work at 3 months after injury, 225 reportedly returned to work by 12 months. A proportional hazards regression indicated that, higher scores in BSRS-50 and PTSC at 3 months after injury were significant risk factors for not returning to work (NRTW), after adjusting for gender, age, education, length of hospitalisation, affected physical appearance, injury type, and loss of consciousness. Other factors affecting RTW were gender, education level, length of hospitalisation, affected physical appearance, and injury type. Among the 10 psycho-physiological symptoms of BSRS-50, phobic-anxiety was the most important risk factor for NRTW.
Conclusions At 12 months after occupational injuries, a significant proportion of workers were still unable to return to work. Development of preventive measures among injured workers according to the risk factors identified in this study is warranted.
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