Presentation M O12

M O12 (Oral Presentation):
Supervisor and organizational factors associated with supervisors' support for work accommodation for back pain injured workers

Presented by: Vicki Leigh Kristman


Kristman V1, 2, 3, 4, Shaw W5, Loisel P4, Reguly P1

  1. Department of Health Sciences, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada
  2. Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada
  3. Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada
  4. Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  5. Center for Disability Prevention, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, USA



Early return to work (RTW), facilitated by temporary work accommodation contributes to the prevention of work disability due to back pain. Supervisors have a key role in providing work accommodations. However, the process by which they are developed and supported by supervisors is poorly understood. We examined whether supervisor characteristics and organizational/job factors influence supervisors' likeliness of supporting work accommodations for injured workers with back pain.


We conducted a cross-sectional study of supervisors recruited from a non-random, convenience sample of Canadian and US employers. Data were collected between December 2010 and January 2013 using a web-based, self-report survey featuring a case vignette of a back pain-injured worker attempting to RTW. The outcome, supervisors’ likeliness of supporting job accommodations for the worker described in the case vignette, was measured with the Job Accommodation Scale (JAS). A breadth of supervisor characteristics and organizational/job factors were included as predictors/covariates. Factors contributing to supervisors' likeliness to accommodate were identified using multivariable generalized linear regression, with clustering by employer. Our model-building strategy involved fitting an initial multivariable model consisting of predictors/covariates with a p value ≤ .2 from bivariate analysis with the outcome; verifying the importance of each variable; and selecting a final model based on predictive ability and parsimony.


A total of 796 eligible supervisors from 19 Canadian and US employers participated. The final model, which included supervisors’ perceptions of their autonomy, consideration leadership style, disability management policies/practices, workplace social capital; and country of residence, explained 17.7% of the variance in the outcome (Adjusted R^2=.177; 95% CI=.121-.233). All final model variables were significantly associated with the outcome.


Several potentially modifiable factors were found to influence supervisors’ likeliness of accommodating back-injured workers. Thus, these factors could be targets of individual level (e.g., supervisor training) or organizational level workplace interventions.

Schedule Details

Monday September 29
10:45 - 12:15 Morning Concurrent Sessions (M O1 - M O12 and Seminar 1)
Session: Supervisors’ involvement in Work Disability
Room A