An official American Thoracic Society systematic review: Influence of psychosocial characteristics on workplace disability among workers with respiratory impairment

Christopher G. Slatore, Philip Harber, Margaret C. Haggerty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Rationale: Psychosocial characteristics likely play an important role in the severity of workplace disability for workers with a respiratory impairment. Objectives:We performed a systematic review of the available literature to examine the impact of psychosocial characteristics on workplace disability among workers with a respiratory impairment. Methods: Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews andMeta-Analyses recommendations,we searchedMedline andother published and unpublished sources using the PubMed and Cochrane Central Register ofControlledClinical Trials (CENTRAL) search engines from January 1, 1990 through March 8, 2013 for quantitative studies that examined the association of psychosocial characteristics with workplace disability among workers with a respiratory impairment. We also searched related citations and the bibliographies of selected studies and relevant review articles. One investigator abstracted data about study design and quality, psychosocial characteristics, and outcome measures. Measurements and Main Results:Of 5,746 potentially relevant studies, 20 met eligibility criteria and were included. Studies reported heterogeneous outcomes among heterogeneous samples of workers that precluded a quantitative synthesis. In general, mental illness was associated with increased workplace disability among workers with respiratory impairments. Few studies adjusted for disease severity, so the independentassociation of psychosocial characteristics and workplace disability is unclear. Most studies were cross-sectional, so the direction of the association could not be determined. We found only one trial of targeted therapy for the psychosocial condition,which was not effective at reducing disability. Conclusions: Psychosocial characteristics likely influence workplace disability in workers with respiratory impairments. The impact of targeted therapies is unclear and warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1160
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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