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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume III, Work and Wellbeing by Peter Chen, Cary Cooper

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Chapter 16

The Working Wounded

Stigma and Return to Work

Lori Francis, James E. Cameron, E. Kevin Kelloway, Victor M. Catano, and Arla L. Day

Saint Mary's University, Canada

C. Gail Hepburn

University of Lethbridge, Canada

Economic and legislative realities place pressure on organizations to return individuals to the workplace as soon as is safely possible following a lost time injury. The need for the early return of injured workers is likely to intensify as shifting societal demographic groups (e.g., an aging population) result in worker shortages (Krause & Lund, 2004). Beyond these factors, the view that being engaged in work contributes to health and wellbeing (e.g., Jahoda, 1982, 1988; Kelloway, Gallagher, & Barling, 2004) further encourages the goal of quickly returning injured workers. The fact that personal and financial costs of a lost time injury increase with the length of the disability leave also adds to the goal of early and sustained return to work.

In light of these pressures to return injured workers to work, the use of modified work to facilitate early reentry is a widely adopted practice (Krause, Dasinger, & Neuhauser, 1998; Krause & Lund, 2004) that in some jurisdictions is formalized into the workers' compensation process (Eakin, 2005; Eakin, MacEachen, & Clarke, 2003). With these practices, injured workers are returned to the workplace early, perhaps before they have recovered fully, to jobs that have been adapted to accommodate their work limitations (e.g., ...

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