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Return to work following unintentional injury: a prospective follow-up study
  1. Urs Hepp1,
  2. Ulrich Schnyder2,
  3. Sofia Hepp-Beg3,
  4. Josefina Friedrich-Perez4,
  5. Niklaus Stulz1,
  6. Hanspeter Moergeli2
  1. 1Outpatient Department, Psychiatric Services Aargau (Teaching Hospital of the University of Zurich), Brugg, Switzerland
  2. 2Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  3. 3Private Practice, Zurich, Switzerland
  4. 4Hospital Männedorf AG, Männedorf, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Urs Hepp; urs.hepp{at}


Objective The aim of this study was to predict time off work following unintentional injuries due to accidents leading to hospital admission.

Design Prospective 6-month follow-up study.

Setting Department of Trauma Surgery of a University Hospital.

Participants Consecutively recruited victims of unintentional injuries (n=221) hospitalised for a minimum of 32 h including two consecutive nights. All the participants were aged 18–65 years and were able to participate in an assessment within 30 days of the accident.

Main outcome measures Interview-assessed number of days off work during the 6 months immediately following the accident.

Results The patients’ subjective appraisals of (1) accident severity and (2) their ability to cope with the resulting injury and its job-related consequences predicted time off work following the accident beyond the impact of the objective severity of their injury and the type of accident involved.

Conclusions The patients’ subjective appraisals of the accident severity and of their ability to cope with its consequences are highly relevant for return to work after accidents. Extending the findings from previous studies on severely injured and otherwise preselected accident victims, this seems to apply to the whole spectrum of patients hospitalised with unintentional injuries.

  • Mental Health
  • Occupational & Industrial Medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Rehabilitation Medicine

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