Research Updates

Gabrielle Lis



One of our most popular contributors, Gabrielle used her writing talents to develop easy to read content.  Her articles are clear, practical and full of creative flair, providing an easily digestible and enjoyable way to keep best practices front of mind.

Gabrielle Lis joined Return to Work Matters in October 2008, while in the throes of the final months of an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne. Gabrielle was an assistant editor at RTWMatters until 2011, where she was able to combine her professional passions: writing and public policy advocacy.

Gabrielle returned to the team in 2016, once again keeping us up to date with her clear and informative articles, as well as coordinating the newsletter.

Articles by ‘Gabrielle Lis’
Reforming risky systems

American researchers think we can design worker’s compensation systems that promote occupational health and safety and improve the wellbeing of injured workers – but stakeholders say that, like...

Copycat, absent

A small proportion of employees imitate co-worker absence. Chucking a sickie is less appealing when the work team has strong social ties, and team members rely on each other to get the job done.

Low-stress interactions matter more for longer-term claimants

What’s more important for durable RTW: RTW planning or the stressfulness of interactions between RTW Coordinators and injured workers? The answer depends on when you’re asking…

Mindfulness intervention helps call centre workers

Stressed-out call centre workers see persistent benefits from an 8-week meditation program - especially when they meditate with workmates.

Relaxation saves sleep from rude supervisors and co-workers

Workplace incivility and poorer sleep go hand in hand - unless you know how to switch off from work and relax. Good to know - and to share with injured workers...

Sleep, burnout and RTW

For employees with burnout, recovery and return to work is possible. What role does sleep play?

Brief psychosocial screeners trump GPs and physios

Psychosocial risk factors better predict delayed recovery than do injury characteristics. How should we assess risk: via brief assessment tools or the observations of health professionals?

Out-muscle depression with resistance exercise

Exercises that build muscle and power also reduce symptoms of depression. You do not need to bulk up to feel the benefits.

Introducing ROSES

In the search to find a screening tool to assist workers with MSDs and common mental health problems, will an Orebro by any other name smell as sweet?

Work-family conflict hurts kids

Authoritative Australian research shows that the mental health of children suffers when parents experience work-family conflict, with persistent ill-effects.

Can mind body treatments cure chronic pain?

New approaches have promise, but it is too soon to tell sufferers that a pain-free life is on the horizon.

Mental health and wellbeing costs of FIFO for workers, families

Fly in fly out workers and their partners struggle to reconcile working life and home life, while feeling a lack of support from family, employers and wider community.

Childhood adversity at work

Adverse childhood experiences impact performance at work and are likely to impact recovery from work injury. How can we help?

The test you do not want to ACE

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are common, and can wreak havoc on physical and psychological health in adulthood. What is the impact at work?

Preventing chronic MSDs

The right kind of vocational rehabilitation can stave off the transition to chronic disability. What influences the success of vocational rehabilitation programs for workers with long-term...

The downside of accommodation

A look at the challenges faced by supervisors obliged to oversee modified duties in a workplace under stress

Jargon busters

Researchers are worried that medical mumbo jumbo hurts recovery. What happens when medical reports are rewritten in easy-to-understand, reassuring ways?

Flexible workers or flexible work?

Choice and control is good for worker health, according to a review of the research on workplace flexibility.

Work hours = health risk?

Working more than 39 hours per week negatively impacts mental health; as do very short working hours. Generally, women have a lower threshold than men.

Support or confrontation?

Supervisors discuss whether support is enough to keep workers with MSDs at work, or whether a confrontational approach is sometimes necessary.

Rethinking injury and unfairness

Why do some people focus on the injustice of their injury while others move on with equanimity? Researchers have uncovered strong relationships between perceptions of injustice, feeling that...

Profile: Supervisors who support modified duties

Supervisors who show concern and respect for workers, who have the autonomy to make decisions about job modifications, and who rate their organisation highly in terms of disability management are...

What helps depressed workers stay at work?

Workplace interventions, CBT and stretching can all reduce sick leave amongst workers with depression - but other interventions are less successful.

An intervention for low back pain that works

Evidence-based! Cost-effective! Proactive! Popular! You will love this new workplace intervention for high-risk workers with low back pain.

Tick, tick, tick

The more time that elapses before low back injury is reported and treated, and the longer someone waits before taking time off work, the longer the eventual period of work disability.

Twins in pain?

Negative ideas about pain can derail recovery and return to work, causing immense frustration for RTW professionals. Why do some people take pain in their stride while others catastrophise? Twin...

Going backwards on mental health

Australian organisations are missing out on many opportunities to promote and support good mental health at work. According to a Superfriend survey 2016 was worse than 2015. Are business owners...

Do workplace interventions improve RTW outcomes?

Workplace interventions are effective for workers with musculoskeletal disorders, but the picture becomes more complex for workers with mental health issues and other health conditions like cancer.

What do employers think of GPs?

Workers compensation systems rely on collaboration between stakeholders to achieve good outcomes. Australian research shows that suspicion outweighs collaboration when employers talk about GPs.

Corralling the research on cancer and RTW

The evidence-based low-down on a problem many Australians will face: returning to work after surviving cancer.

We need to talk about GPs

According to Canadian researchers the responsibilities of GPs in relation to workers compensation and RTW are unclear, leading to conflict and disengagement. They only fix they see? Dialogue...

Q: Are psychosocial interventions effective treatments for chronic pain?

A: CBT, ACT and mindfulness therapies can help people remain active and cope with chronic pain, but do not cure it. Other psychosocial interventions are not supported by research, although this...

(Mis)managing mental health claims in Australia

GPs, injured workers, employers and insurers weigh in on the difficulties of managing mental health claims.

Snapshot: Sickness certification by Australian GPs

Eight years of data from the Victorian workers compensation system reveals that GP certification practices are strongly influenced by injury type.

Stakeholders explain GP sickness certification practices

Patient advocacy, workplace conflict, social circumstances and fee structures all influence sickness certification, according to GPs, injured workers, employers and compensation agents.

Trends in GP sickness certification

GPs issue more unfit for work certificates every year, according to research from Victoria, Australia.

Does RTW training for physios improve outcomes?

RTW training for physiotherapists changes physical and mental health outcomes but not RTW outcomes, according to preliminary research from Victoria.

RTW snakes and ladders

The Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) asks physiotherapists and claims managers what helps injured workers get over the finish line (aka back at work) - and what...

Working for wellness

On the job rehabilitation can improve outcomes for people with psychiatric disabilities.

RTW Coordinators on RTW Coordinators

From the horse's mouth: The competencies required for success

Chronic Fatigue: NOT a dead end - the evidence

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), graded exercise therapy (GET) and good planning get chronic fatigue sufferers back to work.

Early intervention: Risky business?

Early intervention programs for lower back pain aim to keep workers in the workplace. How can you ensure that yours is a success?

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