Return to work outcomes for workers with mental health conditions: A retrospective cohort study

Khic Houy Prang, Megan Bohensky, Peter Smith, Alex Collie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives The aims of this study were to describe predictors of sustained return to work (RTW) among a cohort of workers with compensated work-related mental health conditions (MHCs); and to examine predictors of subsequent absences due to the same condition. Methods This study was a retrospective analysis of compensation claims data in Victoria, Australia. We selected workers with an accepted wage replacement claim due to a work-related MHC from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2009, with two years of follow-up data. Results We identified 8358 workers meeting our inclusion criteria. The median age of workers was 44 years (Interquartile range (IQR): 36-51) and 56% were female. In a multivariable Cox regression analysis, older age, being from a small organisation, working in some specific industry segments, consulting a psychiatrist or psychologist, using medications, and having a previous claim were all associated with a delayed RTW. Workers experiencing work pressure, assault/workplace violence or other mental stress factors, working in the public administration and safety industry and having a medical incapacity certification between 3-4 days and 5-7 days had a higher rate of multiple RTW attempts. Conclusion This study identified a number of risk factors associated with a delayed RTW and multiple attempts at RTW. Predictors may help identify high-risk groups and facilitate the RTW process of workers with MHCs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-265
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Mental health
  • Return to work
  • Workers' compensation

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