Returning to work after cancer in Australia: what facilitates a positive return to work experience? Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Purpose This study examined the impact of task-based and relationship-based social support received in the workplace on cancer survivors' retrospective satisfaction with their return to work experience. Methods Cancer survivors (N = 159), completed an online questionnaire assessing their satisfaction with the return to work experience, overall job satisfaction, contact with employers and co-workers while absent, perceived task-based and relationship-based social support received at the time of returning to work, and the perceived emotional quality of workplace relationships. Results Survivors reported that contact with employers, but not co-workers, while absent from work was associated with a more positive return to work experience. Additionally, greater perceived task-based and relationship-based social support at the time of returning to work were significantly correlated with greater satisfaction with returning to work. Importantly, the impact of task-based and relationship-based social support was fully mediated by the perceived emotional quality of workplace relationships. Job satisfaction independently predicted variance in return to work satisfaction. Conclusions Supporting effective return to work after cancer involves consideration of the workplace social context. Greater resources are needed to help workplaces foster and maintain social connections with employees who are absent from work for cancer treatment.

publication date

  • October 30, 2020