Research Reports - Gender influences on return to work following mild traumatic brain injury

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 Apr 25

Stergiou-Kita M(1), Mansfield E(2), Sokoloff S(3), Colantonio A(4)

OBJECTIVE: To examine the influence of gender on the return to work experience of
workers who had sustained a work-related mild traumatic brain injury (wrMTBI)
DESIGN: Qualitative study using in-depth telephone interviews SETTING: Community
living adults in Ontario, Canada PARTICIPANTS: Purposive sampling was used to
recruit participants. Eligibility criteria were mild/moderate TBI diagnosis based
on multidisciplinary assessment and workplace injury. Six males and six females
RESULTS: Our findings suggest that gender impacts return to work experiences in
multiple ways. Occupational and breadwinner roles were significant for both men
and women following wrMTBI. Female participants in this study were more proactive
than men in seeking and requesting medical and rehabilitation services; however,
the workplace culture may contribute to whether and how health issues are
discussed. Among our participants, those who worked in supportive, nurturing
(e.g., "feminine") workplaces reported more positive return to work (RTW)
experiences than participants employed in traditionally "masculine" work
environments. For all participants, employer and co-worker relations were
critical elements in RTW outcomes CONCLUSION: The application of a gender
analysis in this preliminary exploratory study revealed that gender is implicated
in the return to work process on many levels for men and women alike. Further
examination of the work reintegration processes that takes gender into account is
necessary for the development of successful policy and practice for return to
work following wrMTBI.

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