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Workers' compensation for psychological injury

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Carson, Jacqueline Maree (2003) Workers' compensation for psychological injury. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Workers' compensation claims for psychological injury represent a
significant drain on financial resources. Most commonly, occupational stress
research has focused on individuals still at work. As a consequence, pathways
from developing work related stress conditions to lodging a workers'
compensation claim have received little attention. This investigation was
concerned with identifying the factors that may contribute to an individual
lodging a workers' compensation claim for psychological injury.
Four groups were involved in this study including individuals who had
made a claim for workers' compensation for psychological injury, a group of
workers who had sought professional assistance for symptoms relating to work
stress but who had not lodged a claim, a group of workers who had experienced
stress symptoms at work but who had not sought professional help or lodged a
workers' compensation claim, and a group of workers who had experienced
stressful events at work but who had not developed psychological symptoms. An
intensive design was employed with participants being involved in all studies.
The process of occupational stress is a complicated one. A considerable
number of factors related to onset, experience and consequences of occupational
stress have been identified. A model developed by Berry (1998) was adopted for
the present study to guide the investigation of the factors that influenced the
lodging of a workers' compensation claim for psychological injury. Five studies
were conducted using this model as a guide.
Initially, details regarding the participants' work history were determined
by a verbally administered questionnaire. In relation to Study 1, self-report
questionnaires were administered to determine the influence of factors relating to
the individual. No significant group differences were evident on measures of
dysfunctional attitudes, irrational beliefs, career beliefs or coping resources.
There was no evidence that these factors contributed to either the development of
occupational stress or claiming workers' compensation for psychological injury.
In Study 2, self-report questionnaires were administered to determine the
influence of work-related and nonwork environmental factors. There were no
group differences in relation to stressful life events outside of work or daily
hassles. In contrast, work environment factors did differentiate groups. The
compensation group reported poor relationship factors including less
involvement and less staff support in combination with more work pressure.
In Study 3, specific work stressors were considered using self-report
questionnaires. There were a range of work stressors that distinguished the
compensation group from the other groups. For example, stressors that were
related to high levels of pressure, little reward, and little support were
characteristically reported by the compensation group.
Study 4 examined the psychophysiological and psychological responses to
stressful and nonstressful work events as they occurred by using a personalised,
staged, guided imagery technique. Although stressful work events elicited
greater arousal and more negative psychological responses than did nonstressful
work events, the responses of all groups were similar.
In Study 5, self-report questionnaires were administered to determine
differences in outcome measures. The compensation and assistance groups were
the only groups who experienced clinically significant psychological
symptomatology with these two groups demonstrating unique symptom patterns.
Differences in the adoption of coping strategies also were noted.
Finally, a series of stepwise regression analyses were performed to
determine the factors that significantly contributed to selected outcome variables.
It was interesting to note that factors that did not distinguish the groups still
predicted the development of negative consequences of occupational stress.
The results were discussed in relation to the factors that could be used to
predict a claim for workers' compensation for psychological injury with the aim
of developing appropriate intervention and management strategies. Directions
for future research were considered with particular focus on a suggested
examination of the decision pathways that lead to a workers' compensation claim
for psychological injury.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Workers' compensation, Work, Job stress
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 00:52
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2016 03:49
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