Prognostic accuracy of the SIMBO regarding future return-to-work problems in patients with mental and musculoskeletal disorders

Marco Streibelt*, Matthias Bethge

*Corresponding author for this work


Purpose: A screening instrument (0–100 points) to predict return-to-work (RTW) problems was developed. We tested the predictive validity in patients with mental diseases (MD) and musculoskeletal diseases (MSD). Materials and methods: A prospective multicenter study with questionnaires at admission and 3 months after rehabilitation was conducted. Patients with MD and MSD were included. The outcome was occurrence of RTW problems during the follow-up. Receiver operating characteristic analyses were performed. Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values were calculated for each disease group using the threshold of 27 points. Results: There were 401 patients with MD (n = 250) and MSD (n = 151) included in the study, and 31.8% and 46.4% reported RTW problems during the follow-up, respectively. The area under curve was 0.885 (0.838–0.920) and 0.899 (0.841–0.943). The sensitivity rates were 87.1% and 87.5% and the specificity rates were 79.9% and 88.4% for MD and MSD, respectively. The post-test probability of experiencing RTW problems was 78.9% for MD and 77.8% for MSD. Analyses including only employed patients showed similar results. Conclusions: The screening predicts short-term RTW problems after rehabilitation in patients with mental or MSD regardless of employment. The threshold of 27 points was confirmed as reasonable, but alternatives in the range of 20–30 points can also be recommended.Implications for Rehabilitation The SIMBO is a short and economic screening predicting future problems during the return to work (RTW) in patients with mental or musculoskeletal diseases. The SIMBO can be recommended to detect the initial RTW chance at the beginning of the rehabilitation process. This paper implied that there are mainly generic factors predicting the success of an RTW. Based on this it is possible to use one screening for different disease groups.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)1571-1577
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 19.06.2019

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)


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