Compensation system experience at 12 months after road or workplace injury in Victoria, Australia

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Abstract

Seeking or receiving compensation after injury is frequently associated with poor recovery. Previous research has shown that the stressful nature of compensation procedures and perceived injustice may cause secondary harm. This study examined compensation system experiences in compensation claimants in Victoria, Australia, and explored the relationship between these experiences and injury outcomes. One hundred and sixty compensable patients (120 male, 75.0 %) aged 18–67 years (M = 43.01, SD = 14.31), hospitalized for an injury in a motor vehicle crash (n = 137) or at work (n = 23), participated. Participants completed questionnaires about compensation system experience, pain, and psychological symptoms 12 months after injury. Principal component analysis (PCA) of the compensation system experience items revealed three components explaining 66.64 % of the variance in compensation experience: (1) “negative procedural experience” (47.29 %), (2) “compensation supported recovery” (10.43 %), and (3) “positive procedural experience” (8.92 %). Worse experience on all components was associated with worse pain (severity, interference, catastrophizing, disability) and psychological symptoms (anxiety, depression, PTSD, perceived injustice). Compensation system experience reflected both negative and positive procedural factors, and feeling supported through recovery. Most participants reported having positive experiences; however, those who were frustrated or stressed from compensation procedures had worse pain and psychological health outcomes. While this association is likely to be bidirectional with “non-recovery” also impacting on compensation experience appraisals, compensation schemes should nonetheless address modifiable sources of procedural injustice (e.g., arduous paperwork and approvals processes) and reinforce procedures that generate perceptions of support (e.g., timely and appropriate access to health services).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-389
Number of pages14
JournalPsychological Injury and Law
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

Keywords

  • Compensation
  • Injustice
  • Motor vehicle collision
  • Pain
  • Psychological functioning
  • Trauma
  • Workplace injury

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