Prognosis and the identification of workers risking disability: Research issues and directions for future research

Steven J. Linton, Doug Gross, Izabela Z. Schultz, Chris Main, Pierre Côté, Glenn Pransky, William Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

72 Scopus citations


Introduction: Screening procedures based on prognostic data are an important prerequisite for prevention of disability due to low-back pain. This paper reviews the research on prognosis to delineate the most pertinent research challenges, and outlines directions for future research to improve the scientific quality and screening accuracy of prognostic efforts. Methods: Reviews of prognosis research were examined to identify key methodological and research issues. Results: Certain issues such as sampling procedures, research designs, data analyses, prognostic indicators, and follow-up procedures limit the value of prior studies. Absence of a clear conceptual framework hampers interpretation of findings and moving research questions forward. The recurrent nature of back pain and the need to effectively include the impact of employer actions and the job market were also identified as significant issues. Conclusions: Future research will be enhanced by addressing conceptual and definitional issues, applying tested and sensible measures, and careful follow-up of the study population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-474
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005



  • Conceptual models
  • Disability
  • Methodology
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy

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