Understanding work participation among employees with common mental disorders: What works for whom, under what circumstances and how? A systematic realist review protocol

S. van Hees*, B. E. Carlier, R. W. B. Blonk, S. Oomens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Background:
Work participation among employees with common mental disorders (CMDs) is an increasingly important, yet highly complex phenomenon. Given the call for preventing instead of reacting to negative work outcomes, there is a need to understand how employees with CMDs can continue working.

Objectves:
1) to provide insights in applying a realist approach to the literature review process and 2) to present a way to develop an explanatory framework on work participation, the related causal mechanisms and the interaction with the work context.

Methofs:
A systematic realist literature review, using stay at work (SAW) and work performance (WP) as outcomes of work participation. This protocol paper explains the rationale, tools and procedures developed and used for identification, selection, appraisal and synthesis of included studies.

Results:
The review process entailed six steps to develop so called ‘middle range program theories’. Each step followed a systematic, iterative procedure using context-mechanism-outcome (CMO) configurations.

Conclusions:
Conducting a realist review adds on the understanding to promote work participation, by examining the heterogeneity and complexity of intervention- and observational studies. This paper facilitates other researchers within the field of occupational health by demonstrating ways to develop a framework on work participation using realist synthesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-838
JournalWORK
Volume69
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • DISABILITY
  • HEALTH
  • INTERVENTIONS
  • PEOPLE
  • RETURN
  • Realist research
  • mental disorders
  • methodology
  • occupational health

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