Open Access Peer-reviewed Research Article

Main Article Content

Christina Aggar corresponding author
Theresa Caruana
Tamsin Thomas
J. R. Baker

Abstract

Psychosocial interventions that encourage optimism and connectedness can promote workplace injury recovery and improve wellbeing. A mixed-methods evaluation of a twelve-week program for injured workers in Sydney, Australia, explored three research questions: if a social prescribing approach contributed to (1) increased social and economic participation, (2) improved psychological functioning and quality of life, and (3) decreased health service utilisation. Retrospective analysis of pre- and post-intervention data was undertaken, involving quantitative indicators of social, economic, and health status using validated psychosocial assessment tools (n = 175). These findings were augmented with data from the insurance regulator (n = 177) and insights from link worker documentation of participant activity (n = 178), a program satisfaction survey (n = 167), and participant interviews (n = 44). The social prescribing program was associated with significant improvements in frequency and confidence in participating in social activities and returning to work, in all measures of biopsychosocial wellbeing, and in reducing health service use. Qualitative information identified a range of personal improvements, including greater self-awareness, social connections, and ability to cope with the effects of injury and employment loss. This is the first known Australian study to evaluate a social prescribing intervention for psychosocial rehabilitation for injured workers in Australia. These findings suggest that a social prescribing approach is effective, but further consideration of barriers, including workplace characteristics and procedural difficulties in accessing occupational rehabilitation services, is needed.

Keywords
psychosocial support systems, occupational injuries, return to work, social participation, self-management

Article Details

How to Cite
Aggar, C., Caruana, T., Thomas, T., & Baker, J. R. (2020). Social prescribing as an intervention for people with work-related injuries and psychosocial difficulties in Australia. Advances in Health and Behavior, 3(1), 101-111. https://doi.org/10.25082/AHB.2020.01.001

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