COSMIN database

A systematic review of instruments for the assessment of work-related psychosocial factors (Blue Flags) in individuals with non-specific low back pain

Gray, H., Adefolarin, A. T., and Howe, T. E.
In individuals with low back pain (LBP) psychosocial factors can act as obstacles to return to work. A coloured Flags Framework has been conceptualised, in which Blue Flags represent work-related psychosocial issues. This systematic review was conducted to appraise available instruments for the assessment of Blue Flags in working age adults with non-specific LBP. The Ovid versions of MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, AMED and CINAHL databases were searched from inception until the first week of March 2010; additionally, experts and study authors were contacted. Two authors independently selected studies, extracted data and assessed methodological quality. Eight studies (recruiting 5630 participants) met the review inclusion criteria, reporting six instruments: the Back Disability Risk Questionnaire (BDRQ); Occupational Role Questionnaire (ORQ); Obstacles to Return to Work Questionnaire (ORTWQ); Psychosocial Aspects of Work Questionnaire (PAWQ); Vermont Disability Prediction Questionnaire (VDPQ); and Modified Work Adaptation, Partnership, Growth, Affection and Resolve. Limited psychometric testing had been performed on the instruments, and solely by the original developers. None of the instruments, in their current stage of development, can be recommended as Blue Flags assessment instruments. The ORTWQ was the only instrument that showed adequate psychometric properties but was not considered clinically feasible in its present format. Future research should focus on further psychometric development of the ORTWQ.
Man Ther
1532-2769 (Electronic)
Publication year:
Functional status:
Physical functioning
Social functioning
Adults (18-65)
Seniors (65+)
Diseases of and symptoms related to the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
PRO / non-PRO:
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
BDRQ - Back Disability Risk Questionnaire
ORQ - Occupational Role Questionnaire
ORTWQ - Obstacles to Return-to-Work Questionnaire [alias: ORQ]
PAWQ - Psychosocial Aspects of Work Questionnaire
VDPQ - Vermont Disability Prediction Questionnaire