The effect of a "training on work readiness" program for workers with musculoskeletal injuries: A randomized control trial (RCT) study

Edward J.Q. Li, Wai Ping Cecilia Tsang, C. S. Lam, Karen Y.L. Hui, Che Hin Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This is a clinical randomized trail (RCT) to investigate the effects of a three-week training program on work readiness designed for musculoskeletal injured workers with long-term sick leave who had difficulties resuming their work role. The program was planned to help injured workers overcome the psychological and psychosocial problems and to facilitate their Work Readiness on Return to Work (RTW) based on the Employment readiness model. Methodology: A total of 64 injured workers were recruited and randomly assigned into the training (T) and control (C) groups. Observations were blinded between service providers and evaluators. A three-week intensive training on work readiness program was given to the T group while subjects in the C group were given advice on job placement by social workers in a community work health center. The training program was comprised of individual vocational counseling and group therapy using cognitive behavioral approach to alleviate symptoms of stress, pain and anxiety. The Chinese Lam Assessment of Stages of Employment Readiness (C-LASER), the Chinese State Trait and Anxiety Inventory (C-STAI) and the Short form of Health Survey (SF-36) were used to evaluate all subjects' psychological health status and behavioral changes on job readiness before and after the intervention. Results: Subjects in the T group showed significant improvement in their work readiness (p < 0.05), level of anxiety (p < 0.05) and their self perception of health status measured by SF-36 (p < 0.02) when compared with subjects in the C group. Control of chronic pain, negative motivation, and anxiety level were some of the key behavioral changes found from the study. Conclusion: The TWR program appeared to improve injured workers' motivation and employment readiness. Further study on the employment outcomes of subjects is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-541
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006


  • Long term sick leave
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Return to work
  • Work readiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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