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This month's round-up of occupational health research looks at prescription drug abuse and sickness absence, sustaining behaviour change and other issues.
Prescription drug abuse and sickness absence
Workers who report misuse of prescription drugs are seven percentage points more likely to have had an absence from work in the previous month, according to this analysis of data for the period 2008- 12. This group also reported slightly higher total absence than employees not reporting prescription drug misuse. The authors of this study did not find evidence that results varied for those abusing pain relievers compared with other prescription drugs.
Van Hasselt M et al. “Prescription drug abuse and workplace absenteeism: evidence from the 2008 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health”. Journal of Workplace Behavioural Health, vol.30, issue 4, 2015.
Making behaviour change stick
Evidence for the effectiveness of wellbeing at work programmes is beginning to stack up, particularly the impact that they can have on employees’ health behaviours. But how can we make these behaviour changes stick? This article provides an overview of the factors influencing employees’ adherence to workplace health interventions and outlines a series of strategies to boost worker participation in programmes and adherence to them.
Hammer SS et al. “Adherence to worksite health interventions: practical recommendations based on a theoretical framework”. Journal of Workplace Behavioural Health, vol.30, issue 4, 2015.
Army recruitment and pre-existing injuries
In 2005, British Army recruiting policy was revised to allow applicants with a history of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) to be accepted for an initial period of engagement. A study of 69 personnel who had undergone such surgery finds that the ACLR group were three times more likely to be medically discharged than those in a control group. In addition, 61% of the ACLR group also experienced complications linked to their previous surgery, prompting the study’s authors to conclude: “The current British Army policy on recruitment of those with a history of ACLR should be reviewed in terms of fitness for service and risk of foreseeable harm in these individuals.”
Halford JV et al. “Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and service in the British Army”. Occ