Long-term effects of psychological symptoms after occupational injury on return to work: A 6-year follow-up

Po Ching Chu, Wei Shan Chin, Yue Leon Guo, Judith Shu Chu Shiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Psychological factors may compromise return to work among workers with occupational injuries, and little is known about the long-term consequences of psychological symptoms relating to return to work. The study examined the impact of psychological symptoms on return to work as well as exploring factors associated with return to work among injured workers. A total of 572 workers who experienced occupational injuries were recruited in this prospective cohort study. Surveys of the psychological symptoms using the 5-item Brief Symptom Rating Scale (BSRS-5) were conducted at 3 and 12 months after the injury. All of the workers were invited to join the study at year 6 after the injury. Sociodemographic factors, psychological symptoms, injury severity, and return-to-work status were collected. Approximately 10% of injured workers could not return to work even 6 years after the injury. Severe psychological symptoms within 1 year after the injury presented a significant risk factor for not returning to work 6 years after the injury (adjusted OR = 0.7, 95% CI: 0.5–0.8). Furthermore, age, education level, length of hospitalization, and injury-induced changes in appearance had significant independent influence on return to work as well. These findings highlight the importance of the effects of mental health within 1 year post injury on return to work, and support the concept of early screening, detection, and intervention in at-risk occupational injured workers with severe psychological symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number235
Pages (from-to)235
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2019


  • Occupational injury
  • Psychology
  • Return to work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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