Measuring Workplace Social Support for Workers with Disability

Lysaght, Rosemary et coll. (2012). Measuring Workplace Social Support for Workers with Disability. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation.

Introduction Social support in the workplace has been has been demonstrated to serve as a contributor to a worker’s ability to manage work demands and to manage stress. Research in the area of disability management indicates that interpersonal factors play an important role in the success of return-to-work interventions. The role of workplace support has received limited attention in rehabilitation, despite the salience of support to the disability management process. Prior to this study, there existed no validated quantitative measure of social support for workers who re-enter the workplace following injury or disability. Methods A support measure prototype, the Support for Workers with Disability Scale, was tested with 152 workers in accommodated work situations. Four validation tools were used to assess criterion validity. Factor analysis was used to validate the content structure and reduce the total number of response items. Additional analysis was conducted to determine the ability of the measure to discriminate between groups, and to provide insight into how social support operates in workplaces. Results Based on analysis, a reduced measure consisting of 41 items and measuring supervisor, co-worker, and non-work supports was created. Secondary analysis disclosed information concerning the nature of supports in the workplace. Higher levels of support were identified for workers with fewer work role limitations and for those with one versus multiple injury claims. Conclusions This tool provides a validated outcome measure for research examining the social aspects of workplace disability. It can also serve as a quality management tool for human resource professionals engaged in continuous improvement of disability management programs.

Source: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10926-012-9357-1

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