Predicting Return to Work After Low Back Injury Using the Psychosocial Risk for Occupational Disability Instrument: A Validation Study Academic Article uri icon

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  • INTRODUCTION: This paper reports on the predictive validity of a Psychosocial Risk for Occupational Disability Scale in the workers' compensation environment using a paper and pencil version of a previously validated multimethod instrument on a new, subacute sample of workers with low back pain. METHODS: A cohort longitudinal study design with a randomly selected cohort off work for 4-6 weeks was applied. The questionnaire was completed by 111 eligible workers at 4-6 weeks following injury. Return to work status data at three months was obtained from 100 workers. Sixty-four workers had returned to work (RTW) and 36 had not (NRTW). RESULTS: Stepwise backward elimination resulted in a model with these predictors: Expectations of Recovery, SF-36 Vitality, SF-36 Mental Health, and Waddell Symptoms. The correct classification of RTW/NRTW was 79%, with sensitivity (NRTW) of 61% and specificity (RTW) of 89%. The area under the ROC curve was 84%. CONCLUSIONS: New evidence for predictive validity for the Psychosocial Risk-for-Disability Instrument was provided. IMPLICATIONS: The instrument can be useful and practical for prediction of return to work outcomes in the subacute stage after low back injury in the workers' compensation context.


  • Schultz, IZ
  • Crook, Joan
  • Berkowitz, J
  • Milner, R
  • Meloche, GR

publication date

  • September 2005