Seminar Presentation 4-3
4-3 (Presentation within Topical Seminar 4):
What leads to the expectation to return to work? Insights from a social-cognitive decision making model of future work behaviour.
Part of Topical Seminar 4: Psychosocial Factors Involved in the RTW Process
Tuesday September 30
- School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England, Armidale
- School of Psychology, University of Western Sydney, Sydney
- School of Psychology, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, AUSTRALIA
The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) is a social-cognitive decision making model that suggests an individual’s intention or expectation to perform a behaviour is the immediate precursor of that behaviour and results from the combined effect of three independent influences. These are: Attitude (the net outcome of positive and negative appraisals of the act); Subject Norm (the net social pressure from important others); and, Perceived Behavioural Control (the degree of challenge associated with performing the behaviour). The aim of this study was to use a TPB model of return-to-work (RTW) behaviour to identify the antecedents of future work expectations in employees with a compensable musculoskeletal condition.
Standardised procedures were used to construct a TPB model and associated questionnaire to measure the target behaviour “working or continuing to work in three months time”. Participants were Australian injured workers (N = 174), mean age = 43.7 years, mean time since last worked = 9.94 months, mean pain severity (0-10) = 5.86, 53.2% male, 48.1% back injury, 34.2% unskilled. A pilot group (n = 16), plus 3 experts, served as the developmental sample to generate items for the direct and indirect (belief-based) measures of the model’s components. A validation sample (n = 158) completed the questionnaire.
The model met standard psychometric requirements. Attitude, Subjective Norm and Perceived Behavioural Control explained 76% of the variance in the intention or expectation to be working in three months time (R2 = .76, p < .001). The influencing beliefs with the highest associated factor loadings per component were: for ‘Attitude’ (from 8 advantages or disadvantages of working) – increased pain (r = .85); fear of re-injury (r = .85); social contact (r = .85); and, gaining respect and acceptance (r = .84); ‘Subjective Norm’ (from 6 referents) - the opinion of co-workers (r = .80), friends (r = .80) and treating doctor (r = .79); and ‘Perceived Behavioural Control’ (from 9 inhibitors or facilitators of working) – restricted physical capacity (r = .84), pain (r =.80), co-worker support (r = .88) and employer support (r = .86).