What motivates individuals with temporary disability pension to return to work?

  • S. Lippke
  • E. Zschucke
  • J. Steinkopf
  • A. Hessel


Background: Individuals with a chronic health condition without work on a regular basis should be enabled to return to work (RTW) after temporary disability pension. However, statistics show that very few manage this spontaneously. As hardly any interventions exist to support them in an evidence-based way, this study investigated on basis of the CCAM (Lippke, 2014) the research questions: (1) How does the health condition of the individuals with Time-Limited Reduced Earning Capability Pension develop over time? (2) Do more people plan to RTW over time and with increasing duration of the temporary disability pension? And (3) which factors predict the plan to RTW? Methods: A longitudinal study collected computer-assisted-telephone-interview (CATI)-data from N=415 participants. Frequency analyses, MANOVA, and regression analyses were run. Findings: (1) While the health condition of the individuals with temporary disability pension developed significantly positive over time (p<.01) no gender differences transpired. (2) Contrary to our expectation, fewer proportions of study participants planned to RTW with 74% at T1, 48% at T2 and 50% at T3. (3) Plans to RTW at T3 were significantly predicted by motivation to learn (OR=1.6), expectation to get distracted from worries (OR=2.1), age (OR=0.91) and physical activity (OR=1.4), yet not by monetary reward, self-efficacy, social support, BMI or gender (all ps>.15). Discussion: Interventions helping individuals with temporary disability pension to RTW should make use of lifestyle interventions including physical activity and carry positive expectations towards RTW and help to overcome dysfunctional age stereotypes.
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