Occupational competence and its relationship to emotional health in injured workers in return to work programs: A Malaysian study

Mohd Suleiman Murad, Lisa O'Brien, Louise Farnworth, Chi-Wen Chien

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Workers with musculoskeletal disorders undertaking Malaysia's return to work (RTW) programmes may experience challenges in occupational competence (OC) and negative emotional states (NES). This study aimed to measure and examines the OC and NES of the workers by comparing specific comparison groups and groups of different phases. A total of 76 participants were recruited from a national RTW programme and categorized into three groups based on different RTW phases: off-work (n = 22), re-entry (n = 31), and maintenance (n = 23). Self-report questionnaires consisted of the Occupational Self Assessment version 2.2 and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21. Results showed that injured workers exhibited significantly lower OC in comparison with an international group with various disabilities. In contrast, there was significantly higher NES when compared with Malaysia's general population. Significant differences in OC and NES were also found between workers in the three RTW phases. In particular, OC and NES in the off-work and re-entry phases were significantly lower (OC) and higher (NES) than in the maintenance phase. Furthermore, there was a moderate, negative correlation between OC and NES in the off-work and re-entry phase groups. This indicated that low levels of perceived OC were associated with higher levels of NES.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Negative emotional states
  • Occupational competence
  • Return to work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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