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Study links mental health factors to women's work injury rates

In California, and around the country, statistics show that male workers are more prone to injuries than female. However, a new study suggests a strong link between women's work injury rates and the presence of mental health conditions like fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression, a link that does not generally exist among men.

The study was conducted by the Colorado School of Public Health's Center for Health, Work & Environment in conjunction with the state's largest workers' compensation insurer. Researchers analyzed the claims of more than 300 businesses, encompassing almost 17,000 employees in a wide range of industries.

Researchers found that mental health conditions do not directly affect men's risk for injury, as only 33 percent of male employees reported that they were suffering from such a condition before their accident. By contrast, nearly 60 percent of women made this claim. At the same time, those who were injured once were more likely to be injured again, regardless of their sex.

Understanding the reason behind the difference in injury rates will require further research, according to the authors of the study. Social and cultural factors may be influencing the data. For instance, men can be less forthcoming about their health concerns, and women may face certain stresses at work and at home that make them more prone to behavioral health conditions.

Even when workplace injuries are influenced by behavioral health conditions, this doesn't affect a person's eligibility to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are generally available regardless of fault. An attorney who has experience with these matters can often provide advocacy if a claim is disputed or denied.

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