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A short work-directed rehabilitation to promote work capacity while depressed and anxious: a qualitative study of workers' experiences

Journal article
Authors Kristin Lork
Kristina Holmgren
Louise Danielsson
Published in Disability and Rehabilitation
ISSN 0963-8288
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Language en
Keywords Common mental disorders, qualitative research, work functioning, intervention, anxiety, depression, common mental-disorders, body awareness therapy, anxiety disorders, sickness absence, primary-care, return, women, interventions, metaanalysis, prevalence, Rehabilitation
Subject categories Neurosciences


Purpose: Most people with common mental disorders are working despite symptoms. This study explores individuals' experiences of a work-directed rehabilitation, provided by occupational therapists and physiotherapists, aiming to promote work capacity in persons with common mental disorders. Methods: A qualitative content analysis was used, and 11 women and 8 men with depression or anxiety disorder were interviewed. They were 25-66 years old, had different occupations and were working full or part-time. Results: The participants experienced a process interpreted as Increasing belief in one's capacity through supported reflection and practice. This theme reflects the shifting between "reflecting" and "doing" through rehabilitation and the growing hope for change. The increasing belief in one's capacity was developed through three stages, comprised of the categories To be supported by a professional, To realise things about oneself and To try new strategies for change. Conclusions: Strategies suggested by occupational therapists and physiotherapists have the potential to promote work capacity in people who are working while depressed and anxious. The results may deepen the understanding among rehabilitation professionals about the importance of a person-centred approach to people with common mental disorders, and to combine reflection and practical exercises to support the development of work-related strategies.

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