Summary: Health Effects of Compensation Systems Study
Purpose of Research
- To investigate the relationship between stressful claims experiences and long-term recovery after injury among transport accident and workers'compensation claimants
- To explore the role of claimant vulnerability to stressful claims experiences
- To develop recommendations for change to improve claimant recovery
Longitudinal study of a cohort of hospitalised injury patients who claimed compensation in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, combined with a questionnaire about participants' experiences of the claims process.
- There is a high level of diversity in claimants' perceptions of the claims process.
- Fifty three per cent of claimants reported moderate-to-high levels of stress associated with one or more of the elements of the claims experience (as presented in a survey).
- The most frequently-reported stressors were:
- understanding what the claimant needed to do for the claim (34% of claimants)
- the amount of time taken to dealwith the claim (30% of claimants), and
- the number of medical assessments or examinations (27% of claimants).
- Claimants who reported high levels of claim-related stress were at heightened risk of poor longterm recovery (with higher levels of anxiety, depression and disability).
- Associations between stressful claims experiences and poor health outcomes remained significant when we adjusted for clinical and demographic factors that may have predisposed claimants to experiencing the claims process as being stressful.
- There was a significant indirect relationship between PTSD/depression, claim-related stress and Iong-term disability: those with high levels of PTSD or depression found the claims process stressfulwhich in turn contributed to higher levels of long-term disability.
Two strategies have strong potential for improving claimants' long-term recovery and saving resources, and these strategies are likely to be complementary:
- interventions to boost the resilience of claimaints at risk of stressful claims, experienceq, and
- redesigning claims procedures and processes to reduce their stressfulness, especially for vulernable claimants.
Dr Genevieve Grant (Monash University)
Assoc Prof Meaghan O'Donnell (Australian Centre for Posttraumdtic Mental Health)
Dr Matt Spittal (The University of Melbourne)
Prof David Studdert (University of Melbourne)
Report No. 0913-021-RlA
27 September 2013
Program Lead: A/Professor Alex Collie
Like More Information?
Contact the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research
Phone: +613 9097 0610