Understanding the role of sex differences in work injuries: implications for primary care practice

Disabil Rehabil. 2008;30(1):36-43. doi: 10.1080/09638280701192949.


Purpose: Primary care physicians care for work-injured women and men, yet there is little information on sex differences in outcomes and factors contributing to post-injury outcomes to guide their evaluation and recommendations.

Methods: Two self-administered questionnaires were sent to a large sample of women and men with work injuries reported to the New Hampshire (USA) Department of Labour between November 2000 and March 2002. Factors associated with the work injury and outcomes were assessed.

Results: A total of 3001 persons (1448 women and 1553 men) completed the first questionnaire and 67% completed the second questionnaire. Work-injured women were significantly younger, more educated, more likely to be single, had more pre-injury comorbidities, and worked in less physically demanding occupations as compared to work-injured men. Women's injuries were more often a result of routine job tasks and of gradual onset. Women had worse long-term outcomes including job stability and post-injury income. In multivariate analyses, being female was independently associated with a negative employer response and greater future work concerns.

Conclusions: Women and men differ in terms of work injury circumstances and factors contributing to post-injury outcomes. Primary care providers should consider sex when evaluating and treating work-injured adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Description
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New Hampshire
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prognosis
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*