The social consequences of occupational injuries and illnesses

Am J Ind Med. 2001 Oct;40(4):403-17. doi: 10.1002/ajim.1113.


Background: Most outcome studies of occupational injuries and illnesses have tended to focus on direct economic costs and duration of work disability. Rarely have the broader social consequences of work-related disorders or their impacts on injured workers' families, coworkers, and community been investigated. This paper examines a wide range of social consequences including workers' psychological and behavioral responses, vocational function, and family and community relationships.

Methods: Literature review and development of conceptual framework.

Results: Complex and multifactorial relationships are described whereby occupational injuries and illnesses produce a variety of social consequences involving filing and administration of workers' compensation insurance claims, medical care experiences, domestic function and activities of daily living, psychological and behavioral responses, stress, vocational function, rehabilitation and return to work, and equity and social justice.

Conclusion: A research agenda is proposed for guiding future investigations in this field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Occupational Diseases / economics
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Occupational Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Research Design
  • Social Justice
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Workers' Compensation / economics