The role of patients' beliefs in predicting return to work following operatively managed tibial fracture

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Dr. Jason Busse
Institute for Work & Health

What role do patients’ beliefs play in their likelihood of recovery from severe physical trauma? Can these beliefs be measured in order to help predict long-term outcomes?
Dr. Jason Busse, an IWH scientist, will present findings from a study that explored these questions. He and his research team developed and validated an instrument designed to capture the impact of patients’ beliefs on functional recovery from injury. The instrument, called the somatic preoccupation and coping (SPOC) questionnaire, was administered to 359 patients who had undergone operations for tibial shaft fractures. The relationship between their SPOC scores and functional outcomes one year later were then measured.

Busse found that the six-week SPOC scores were a far more powerful predictor of functional recovery than age, gender, fracture type, smoking status or the presence of multi-trauma. This led him to conclude that the SPOC questionnaire is a valid measurement of illness beliefs in tibial fracture patients and is highly predictive of their long-term functional recovery.