The role of significant others in work re-integration of workers with chronic diseases


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    Significant others like partners, family members and friends can play an important role in recovery and re-integration of workers with chronic diseases. We investigated how significant others can influence work outcomes and how occupational health care may benefit from involving significant others. The research shows that illness perceptions and return to work expectations of workers and their significant others are associated with the sick leave duration of these workers. Furthermore, it shows that occupational health physicians usually pay little attention to the influence of significant others. The main reasons for this are lack of time and not seeing the need for this. Important reasons for involving significant others are gaining more insight into for example the worker’s coping and improving support. Group interviews showed that workers generally have positive views about involving significant others in occupational health care. They do indicate, however, that the decision must lie with the worker. Furthermore, they warn for unwanted consequences like too much interference or burdening of significant others. With these findings, we developed the e-learning “Training for Occupational Health Physicians to Involve Significant Others”. In this e-learning, occupational health physicians learn how to explore the influence of significant others and how they can respond to this to facilitate recovery and re-integration. The evaluation of the e-learning shows that the knowledge, attitudes and self-efficacy of occupational health physicians with regard to involving significant others improved, as well as their awareness of the role of significant others and their intention to pay more attention to this topic in their daily practice.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • Brouwer, Sandra, Supervisor
    • Hagedoorn, Mariet, Supervisor
    • de Vries, Haitze, Co-supervisor
    Datum van toekenning29-mrt.-2023
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    StatusPublished - 2023

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