Many workers’ compensation agencies across Canada have begun accepting claims for chronic mental stress that results from work. This represents a significant shift in the recognition of the role of work in the development of chronic mental stress conditions. Research in other jurisdictions has shown that psychological claims are associated with greater health-care and wage replacement costs compared to claims for physical conditions. However, the potential reasons for these differences have not been well understood.
In this IWH Speaker Series presentation, Dr. Peter Smith presents findings from a cohort study of 869 workers’ compensation claimants in the Australian state of Victoria who were followed over a 12-month period. He highlights differences between the two groups of claimants (psychological and musculoskeletal) across multiple factors, including their personal profile, the health-care service they received, the workplace management of their injuries and the system-level processing of their claims.