Beliefs and perceptions in relation to health and work

Dianne Melinda Sheppard, Dorothy Frost

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Introduction: Recent empirical and anecdotal evidence suggests that it is not only an individual’s injury or diagnosis which determines whether they will be able to obtain a job or resume work after an injury, but also their beliefs and perceptions about their health and work. To investigate the extent to which beliefs and perceptions contribute, an evidence-based biopsychosocial questionnaire was developed and applied to two different cohorts. Methods: Our questionnaire comprised a mix of existing scales from validated questionnaires and independently developed items. It was applied to n=142 individuals from two independent samples: individuals from the Disability Employment Sector (DES, n=63), and a long-term workplace injury cohort (n=79). Correlations were performed and some items were removed, reducing the overall length and improving usability of the questionnaire. Results: Individual biopsychosocial profiles were used to determine the most suitable intervention in advance of more traditional vocational job seeking assistance. The results have also generally informed our approach to supporting individuals to achieve vocational goals. In addition, aggregate results for each sample were compared and provide an interesting narrative about differences across the populations. A novel intervention approach informed by the assessment results has recently been applied to over 100 individuals and has been evaluated with pleasing results. Conclusions: The questionnaire is a useful tool to guide targeted intervention designed to address individual negative beliefs and perceptions about health and work, and other biopsychosocial factors. Preliminary results suggest that this is effective as a pre-curser to job seeking efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventInternational Congress of Behavioral Medicine 2016 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 7 Dec 201610 Dec 2016


ConferenceInternational Congress of Behavioral Medicine 2016
Abbreviated titleICBM 2016


  • injury outcome
  • Assessment tools
  • Intervention development
  • occupational rehabilitation

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