PURPOSE: A shift from providing long-term disability benefits to promoting work reintegration of people with remaining work capacity in many countries requires new instruments for work capacity assessments. Recently, a practice-based instrument addressing biopsychosocial aspects of functioning, the Social Medical Work Capacity instrument (SMWC), was developed. Our aim was to examine the content validity of the SMWC using ICF core sets.
METHODS: First, we conducted a systematic search to identify relevant ICF core sets for the working age population. Second the content of these core sets were mapped to assess the relevance and comprehensiveness of the SMWC. Next, we compared the content of the SMWC with the ICF-core sets.
RESULTS: Two work-related core sets and 31 disease-specific core sets were identified. The SMWC and the two work-related core sets overlap on 47 categories. Compared to the work-related core sets, the Body Functions and Activities and Participation are well represented in the new instrument, while the component Environmental factors is under-represented. Compared to the disease-specific core sets, items related to the social and domestic environmental factors are under-represented, while the SMWC included work-related factors complementary to the ICF.
CONCLUSION: The SMWC content seems relevant, but could be more comprehensive for the purpose of individual work capacity assessments. To improve assessing relevant biopsychosocial aspects, it is recommended to extend the instrument by adding personal and environmental (work- and social-related) factors as well as a more tailored use of the SMWC for assessing work capacity of persons with specific diseases or underlying illness.