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Reoccurring Injury, Chronic Health Conditions, and Behavioral Health: Gender Differences in the Causes of Workers’ Compensation Claims

Schwatka, Natalie, V., PhD; Shore, Erin, MPH; Atherly, Adam, PhD; Weitzenkamp, David, PhD; Dally, Miranda, J., MS; Brockbank, Claire, v.S., MS; Tenney, Liliana, MPH; Goetzel, Ron, Z., PhD; Jinnett, Kimberly, PhD; McMillen, James, MPH; Newman, Lee, S., MD, MA

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 12, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001301
Original Article: PDF Only

Objective: To examine how work and non-work health-related factors contribute to workers’ compensation (WC) claims by gender.

Methods: Workers (N = 16,926) were enrolled in the Pinnacol Assurance Health Risk Management study, a multiyear, longitudinal research program assessing small and medium-sized enterprises in Colorado. Hypotheses were tested using gender stratified logistic regression models.

Results: For both women and men, having incurred a prior WC claim increased the odds of a future claim. The combination of incurring a prior claim and having metabolic health conditions resulted in lower odds of a future claim. Behavioral health risk factors increased the odds of having a claim more so among women than among men.

Conclusions: This study provides data to support multifactorial injury theories, and the need for injury prevention efforts that consider workplace conditions as well as worker health.

Center for Health, Work & Environment and Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO USA (Natalie V. Schwatka, Erin Shore, Miranda J. Dally, Lee S. Newman, Liliana Tenney); Department of Health Systems, Management & Policy, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO USA (Adam Atherly); Center for Health, Work & Environment and Department of Biostatistics and Informatics, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO USA (David Weitzenkamp); Segue Consulting, Denver, CO USA (Claire v.S. Brockbank); Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, and IBM Watson Health, Bethesda, MD USA (Ron Z. Goetzel); Integrated Benefits Institute, and Institute for Health and Aging, University of California, San Francisco, CA USA (Kimberly Jinnett); Pinnacol Assurance, Denver, CO USA (James McMillen); and Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, and Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO USA (Lee S. Newman).

Address correspondence to: Natalie V. Schwatka, PhD, Center for Health, Work & Environment, Colorado School of Public Health, 13001 E. 17th Place, 3rd Floor, Mail Stop B-119, Aurora, CO 80045 (e-mail: natalie.schwatka@ucdenver.edu).

Funding: This study was funded by Pinnacol Assurance. It was also supported in part by Cooperative Agreement 1 U19 OH 011227–01, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.

Conflicts of interest: None declared

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine