Non-physical factors that impact return to work in individuals with upper extremity injuries: A scoping review

Michael J. Gerg, Kristin M. Hazak, Brittany R. Carrie, Naomi Melendez, Vanessa D. Jewell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Upper extremity injuries may prevent adults from returning to work, impacting productivity, and engagement in meaningful employment. OBJECTIVE: The scoping review identified various non-physical factors that impact return to work (RTW) after an upper extremity injury. METHODS: Database searches included: CINAHL, PsycINFO, PubMed, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The authors further hand searched the journals Work and The Journal of Hand Therapy. Inclusion criteria included articles published in English, published from 2000-2020, and addressed the following topics: upper extremity injury, the client's psychosocial perceptions of the injury, and return to work. RESULTS: After title and abstract review, 9 studies were identified for full-text review that examined various patterns related to non-physical factors that impact RTW. Three themes emerged from the full-text reviews including client self-efficacy, social determinants of health, and the need for holistic intervention approaches. CONCLUSIONS: Practitioners involved in the rehabilitation of working age clients with upper extremity injuries should remain cognizant of the non-physical factors that can impact return to work and incorporate holistic approaches like monitoring and addressing self-efficacy, psychosocial well-being, and social determinants of health into clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-106
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 22 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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