The psychology of injured workers: health and cost of vocational rehabilitation

J Occup Rehabil. 2006 Dec;16(4):513-28. doi: 10.1007/s10926-006-9051-2.


Background: In the vocational rehabilitation of injured workers the influence of the worker's personality has been neglected. This is despite there being substantial evidence that in chronic pain certain personality factors are significantly related to poorer outcomes. This is a preliminary study that has examined the relationship between personality factors, personality psychopathology and rehabilitation outcomes in injured workers.

Method: Data from structured clinical interviews, self report and rehabilitation outcome (cost) were gathered from 36 injured workers with recognized compensation claims for physical and/or psychological workplace injury.

Results: Personality factors were associated with poorer outcome, particularly cost and health. Individuals with extreme personality traits experienced poorer health and vocational rehabilitation outcomes. The combination of high Neuroticism and low Extraversion which is a pattern often characterized as anxious and socially avoidant was found to be consistently related to poor health outcomes.

Conclusions: The results indicate that considering the type of personality characteristics of injured workers may have important theoretical and practical implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Northern Territory
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Occupational Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Personality Disorders*
  • Personality*
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational* / economics
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / rehabilitation*