How does gender influence sustainable return to work following prolonged work disability? An interpretive description study

Abstract: Purpose: A sustainable return to work (S-RTW) following prolonged work disability poses different challenges, depending on gender. This article provides a synthesis of gender differences in the issues and factors influencing the S-RTW of workers following such a disability. Methods: Using an interpretive description method, an integrative review was conducted of the literature on gender differences in S-RTW issues and factors associated with four major causes of work disability. The initial review concerned the 2000-2016 literature; it was subsequently updated for November 2016-March 2020. To explore and contextualise the results, four focus groups were held with stakeholders representing the workplace, insurance, and healthcare systems and workers. Qualitative thematic analysis was performed. Results: A total of 47 articles were reviewed, and 35 stakeholders participated in the focus groups. The prevailing traditional gender roles were found to have a major gender-specific influence on the attitudes, behaviours, processes and outcomes associated with S-RTW. These differences related to the (1) cumulative workload, (2) work engagement, and (3) expressed and addressed needs. Conclusions: The results highlight the importance of taking into account both professional and personal aspects when integrating gender issues into the assessment of workers’ needs and subsequently into interventions.

DOI: http://10.1007/s10926-020-09953-4


Marie-France Coutu, Marie-José Durand, Dominique Tremblay, Chantal Sylvain, Marie-Michelle Gouin, Karine Bilodeau, Luliana Nastasia, Marie-Andrée Paquette


janvier 2021


Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation