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Depressive symptoms highly prevalent after a musculoskeletal workplace injury

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Six months after a workplace injury to the back or upper extremity, what is the prevalence, incidence and course of depressive symptoms; how prevalent is mental health treatment, and is there an association between return-to-work trajectories (RTW) and depressive symptoms?


A total of 632 people (mean age 42.2 years, 55% male) lost their claim filed for working-time claim under the new Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario (WSIB), due to a work-related musculoskeletal disorder of the back or upper extremity. Eligibility criteria for enrolling participants in our study were as follows: absence from work for ≥5 days during the first 14 days after the injury, aged >15 years and passing the final eligibility screen conducted by a telephone interview. Exclusion criteria were severe injury (fracture or amputation), inability to speak English, receiving institutional care or a security problem.


Ontario, Canada; timeframe not stated.

Prognostic factors:

Depressive symptoms at baseline and at 6 months postinjury were analysed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies – Depression scale (CES-D). High-level depressive symptoms were defined so on the basis of a CES-D score of ≥16. Depression diagnosis at 6 months (self-reported in answer to the question, ‘Since your injury, have …

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  • Sources of funding Research grant from Ontario WSIB-Research Advisory Council and by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council-Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury.


  • Competing interests None.

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