IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

The relationship between the symptoms of depression and the low rehabilitation rate for workers suffering from musculoskeletal disorders


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the leading cause of sick leave (WHO, 2003). Recent research suggests that depressive symptoms may contribute to chronicity following an occupational injury. The aim of this study is to examine the prognostic value of depressive symptoms in explaining the poor results for rehabilitation treatments. The proposed study is the first phase in a research program whose purpose is to develop intervention approaches for increasing the probability of rehabilitating individuals suffering from depressive symptoms associated with musculoskeletal problems.
Two hundred individuals on MSD-related sick leave will be asked to participate in the research project. Recruitment will be carried out in four clinical centres that offer rehabilitation services to CSST clients. Symptoms of depression will be evaluated at the start of the treatment program. The prognostic value of depressive symptoms will be examined in relation to the subjective and objective indicators of rehabilitation.
The researchers want to verify the following hypothesis: prospectively, the stronger the symptoms of depression at the start of a rehabilitation treatment, the higher the level of pain, the lower the functional capacities, the slower the recovery, and the lower the probability of a return to work.
Identification of depressive symptoms as a prognostic factor that explains the poor results for the rehabilitation treatments could contribute to the development of interventions for reducing the risk of chronicity following a musculoskeletal injury.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 0099-5870
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2010
Research Field: Occupational Rehabilitation
  • Michael J.L. Sullivan (Université de Montréal)
  • Maureen Simmonds (Université McGill)
  • Ana Velly (Université McGill)