Introduction: Musculoskeletal disorders are among the main causes of short- and long-term disability.
Aim: Identify the methods for assessing multidimensional components of illness representations.
Methods: An electronic literature search (French, English) from 1980 to the present was conducted in medical, paramedical and social science databases using predetermined key words. After screening titles and abstracts based on a specific set of criteria, sixty-four articles were reviewed.
Results: Qualitative approaches for assessing illness representation were found mainly in the fields of anthropology and sociology and were based on the explanatory models of illness. The interviews reviewed were: the Short Explanatory Model Interview, the Explanatory Model of Illness Catalogue and the McGill Illness Narrative Interview. Quantitative approaches were found in the health psychology field and used the following self-administered questionnaires: the Survey of Pain Attitudes, the Pain Beliefs and Perceptions Inventory, the Pain Beliefs Questionnaire, the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, the Implicit Model of Illness Questionnaire, the Illness Perception Questionnaire, including its derivatives, and the Illness Cognition Questionnaire.
Conclusion: This review shows the actual use and existence of multiple interviews and questionnaires in assessing multidimensional illness representations. All have been used and/or tested in a medical context but none have been tested in a work disability context. Further research will be needed to determine their suitability for use in a work disability context.