Research Updates

This page lists all research updates available on Return to Work Matters.

Research is chosen for review based on quality of the evidence and its practical value in return to work.

Requests to undertake reviews of research on particular subjects are welcome.

Click the ‘Topics’ button below to drill down into all articles and research updates on your topic of interest.

Diagnosing back pain

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

A step-by-step guide for best practice diagnosis of back pain

Chronic Fatigue: NOT a dead end - the evidence

contributorGabrielle Lis

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), graded exercise therapy (GET) and good planning get chronic...

Back problems: beliefs and recovery - the evidence

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

A person's beliefs about back problems influence how they engage with treatment, so providing...

Back pain and pessimism: A vicious cycle-The evidence

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

Pessimistic beliefs about back pain can prolong suffering and prevent proper treatment

Despair and low back pain: Connecting as a starting point-The evidence

contributorFrancesca McSteen

People with chronic low back pain can lose their sense of control over life, a major...

Back pain and work: Psychosocial factors. The evidence.

contributorFrederieke Schaafsma

A range of studies explore whether psychosocial factors contribute to the development of back pain

Back pain and work: Physical factors - Physical work. The evidence.

contributorFrederieke Schaafsma

What does the research tell us about physical work and the impact on back pain?

Low back pain: Which treatments work? - The evidence.

contributorHannah Bourne

Less invasive treatments should be first port of call for low back pain.

Blame is not a game

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Researchers have developed a questionnaire to help identify when perceptions of injustice may be...

What makes a good case manager?

contributorJulian Fernando

Treating workers as individuals, not numbers, lifts satisfaction with case management services.

Critical illness, brain impairment and RTW

contributorAndrea Thompson

Are neurocognitive impairments being identified early enough, or at all, after critical illness?

Age + overtime = Lower productivity??? - the evidence

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

Research shows that older workers CAN work overtime and remain productive

Mental illness and RTW: bridging the gap

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Collaboration between mental health and employment agencies assists return to work, but how do...

Is everyone a safety expert?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Canadian researchers conclude that employees have the goods to make participatory ergonomics a...

Understanding the trajectory of workplace stress

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Research suggests that stress claims aren't as big a mystery as employers tend to think...

Canada trains researchers to share the love!

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Disability prevention researchers benefit from collaboration and communication in an innovative...

Workplace intervention VS clinical intervention

contributorJulian Fernando

In this battle of the lower back pain heavyweights, who comes out on top and why?

Can CBT trump chronic pain?

contributorDr Mary Wyatt

Chronic pain is a notoriously obstinate barrier to RTW. Is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy the...

Compensation prolongs whiplash pain

contributorHannah Bourne

Changes to NSW workers' comp legislation had some interesting outcomes

Multidisciplinary rehab costs $$. Is it worth it?

contributorHannah Bourne

A comparison of the effectiveness of multidisciplinary rehabilitation and standard care in the...

Whiplash and physical fitness

contributorHannah Bourne

Do fit people recover from whiplash more quickly?

The history of compensation in Australia

contributorFrancesca McSteen

With harmonisation hopefully imminent, it's a good time to look at and learn from Australia's...

Preventing unnecessary disability

contributorHannah Bourne

An overview of the complex factors influencing the return to work of sick and injured workers,...

Manners Matter: doctors' behaviour influences return to work and recovery of injured workers

contributorHannah Bourne

A study looking at factors influencing the return to work and recovery of injured workers in...

It's all in the head: supporting families dealing with traumatic brain injury

contributorHannah Bourne

Identifying the needs of families caring for someone with a traumatic brain injury.

Balance at work, balance at home

contributorFrancesca McSteen

Workplace flexibility is associated with better employee health

Welfare-to-work programs

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Are they good policy? Do they work? How can they be improved?

Predicting and preventing long-term disability

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

Recognising the risk factors for long term disability can help employers reduce the compensation...

The simple way to predict RTW outcomes? Ask!

contributorHannah Bourne

A short survey can predict a worker's RTW outcomes

Physical activity a must for sedentary workers

contributorHannah Bourne

Contrary to expectations, sedentary workers are more likely than heavy workers to lead inactive...

This round is on the boss...

contributorFriyana Bhabha

Alcohol consumption and work absenteeism: Educating workers and preventing absence

Who's the boss? Health and control in the workplace

contributorFriyana Bhabha

If a sense of workplace control is linked to good health, how can it be fostered?

Depression and antidepressants

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

Clinical principles for the use of antidepressants, and the effectiveness of other treatments in...

Countering job dissatisfaction in immigrant workers

contributorFriyana Bhabha

What can employers do to tackle the problem of job dissatisfaction?

Empowering employers to fight depression

contributorAnna Dunn

A short guide to depression busting in the workplace

Challenges and opportunities for preventing depression

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

This article explores some of the ways to manage and prevent major depression in the workplace.

Recognising depression at work

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

We all know depression is a problem, but do we recognise depression when we see it?

The business of depression

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

There is a good business case for educating your workforce about depression

Depression, anxiety, fatigue: the unproductive trinity

contributorTom Wells-Quinn

Productivity suffers when workers are depressed - but are some depressed workers more prone to...