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Work Participation and Musculoskeletal Pain: The Influence of ‘Significant Others’ and Implications for Vocational Rehabilitation

September 17, 2014 - 9:30am PDT, 12:30pm EDT
Recorded in September, 2014


Watch the recorded version on demand​ for a certificate of attendance​

In collaboration with Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation

Powerpoint Slides

Research has shown that significant others (spouses/partners/relatives) are important influences in the course of, and recovery from persistent musculoskeletal pain. Despite this evidence, significant others are rarely included in an individual’s formal treatment or rehabilitation plans, and further research examining how significant others could support self-management and work participation for patients with persistent musculoskeletal pain is needed.

Findings will be presented from exploratory research focusing on the influence of significant others on work participation for individuals with persistent musculoskeletal pain, and will outline specifically:

  • The illness beliefs and treatment expectations of significant others in relation to their relative’s pain
  • How the beliefs of significant others may reinforce worker beliefs (positive and negative)
  • How significant others support work participation for those with persistent musculoskeletal pain, or further validate their incapacity
  • How the health status and illness experience of significant others influences their perceptions and support of their relative’s pain and work participation
  •  How significant others may be usefully involved in pain management and vocational rehabilitation programmes. 
Serena McCluskey, BSc, PhD, FHEA, CPsychol

Dr. Serena McCluskey is a Chartered Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield whose research interests focus on the psychosocial influences on musculoskeletal pain and work participation. Serena has undertaken several UK government-funded research projects in this area, and is currently developing an area of research exploring how significant others (spouses/partners/relatives) may influence recovery and work participation for individuals with persistent musculoskeletal pain. Future research will include the design and evaluation of educational interventions for family members in order that may support self-management and continued work participation for those with chronic pain.


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