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Fear of being fired after injury leads to longer disability durations: study

Predictors of Worker Outcomes, eight reports by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA, focused on Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Virginia. The study found that trust in the workplace was one of the most important elements in the duration of a disability and the time to return to work.

Workers who were concerned that they may be fired after the injury had a four-week increase in average duration of disability. Concern about job security after a work accident also correlated with dissatisfaction with workers' comp medical care. The highest percentage of workers who were concerned about being fired was in North Carolina - 47%.

The studies also looked at specific co-morbid medical conditions by asking whether the worker had received treatment for hypertension, diabetes, and heart problems. The medical condition may have been present at the time of the injury or may have manifested during the recovery period. Among those findings:

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