Seminar Presentation 1-3

1-3 (Presentation within Topical Seminar 1):
Facilitating the evaluation of work disability representations in practice settings

Presented by: Marie-France Coutu


Coutu MF1,2, Durand MJ2, O'Hagan F1, Labrecque ME3

  1. Trent University, Peterborough, Canada
  2. Université de Sherbrooke, Longueuil
  3. Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal



Illness representations provide a valuable framework for integrating worker understandings of injury and their consequences into therapeutic intervention. No evaluation tools presently exist. We adapted of the the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire has been developed to assess representations of workers on sick leave due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Objective: A two-phase project aimed at: 1) validating the internal consistency and construct validity of the adapted questionnaire (IPQR-WD); 2) performing an English translation and implementing the questionnaire online with intervention support feedback for clinicians.


Phase 1) A cross-sectional study was conducted (Dec 2010 to June 2011) in Montreal region, Canada. Participants (n=41 males and females, French speaking) were between 3 months and a year of absence from work due to MSDs and recruited from work rehabilitation programs. We administered the IPQR-WD and the following related measures for the construct validity: Pain Catastrophizing Scale, Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia, Pain Beliefs and Perceptions Inventory, Pain Disability Index, Psychiatric Symptoms Index, Self-Efficacy for Return to Work Scale, Implicit Models of Illness Questionnaire and a Visual Analog Scale for pain intensity. Phase 2) a double back translation was performed and item clarity was assessed (varying from 1 to 7 absolutely clear) with anglophones (May-Dec 2013). The questionnaire is now online. Usability and utility is currently being assessed with 15 workers and their clinicians.


1) Cronbach’s alphas showed good to excellent internal consistency for each dimension (0.61 to 0.88), lowest score being associated to the Cyclical Timeline scale which contains only 4 items. Multiple regression analyses with each dimension of the IPQR-WD and variables found to be significantly associated in a preliminary correlation matrix explained a good proportion of the variance (r2 from 0.40 to 0.74) for each dimension, except for Cyclical timeline, which correlations became non-significant after adjusting for gender, age and length of sick leave. 2) All translated items were rated on an average as 6 - 7/7 (very clear). Preliminary results show that the online version is usable and clinically useful.


A simple, easily administered questionnaire can assess representations related to work disability and may facilitate their systematic evaluation in research and in the clinic.