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The Impact of Psychiatric Comorbidity on the Return to Work in Patients Undergoing Herniated Disc Surgery


Angermeyer, Matthias C.; Riedel-Heller, Steffi G.; Zieger, Margrit [u. a.]


k. A.


Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2011, Volume 21 (Number 1), Seite 54-65, Dordrecht: Springer Niederlande, ISSN: 1053-0487 (Print); 1573-3688 (Online)





This study examines
(1) return to work (RTW) and ability to work (ATW) rates, and the association with
(2) psychiatric comorbidity and
(3) socio-demographic, illness-related, vocational and rehabilitation-related characteristics in herniated disc surgery patients.


In this longitudinal observational study 305 consecutive patients took part in face-to-face interviews during hospital stay. 277 patients also participated in a 3-month follow-up survey via telephone (drop-out rate 9%). Psychiatric comorbidity was assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI-DIA-X). Calculations were conducted via Chi-Square tests, independent T-tests and binary logistic regression analyses.


40.1% of the herniated disc patients in this study were able to RTW, 44.4% had regained their ATW 3 months after surgery. Psychiatric comorbidity appeared to be an important risk factor for RTW and ATW. Other risk factors were lower educational qualification, unemployment status, a lower subjective prognosis of gainful employment, a higher number of herniated discs in medical history, cervical disc surgery, and the existence of other chronic diseases, a longer hospital stay and higher pain intensity. Patients who did not RTW, or did not regain their ATW participated more often in inpatient rehabilitation.


Identifying a high risk group for RTW and ATW at an early age is of utmost importance for the purpose of improving rehabilitation effects and to make a return to the work place easier. Specific interventions, such as social-medical counselling, pain therapy and management, as well as the assistance of mental health professionals during hospital and rehabilitation treatment are recommended for this risk group.

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Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

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Informationsstand: 08.10.2012

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