What works best for whom? An exploratory, subgroup analysis in a randomized, controlled trial on the effectiveness of a workplace intervention in low back pain patients on return to work

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STUDY DESIGN: Exploratory subgroup analysis in a randomized controlled trial (RCT). OBJECTIVE: To detect possible moderators in the effectiveness of a workplace intervention in a population of workers with sick leave due to sub acute nonspecific low back pain. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: In a recently published RCT, a workplace intervention was effective on return to work, compared to usual care. Examining the heterogeneity of effect sizes within the population in this RCT (n = 196) can lead to information on the effectiveness of the intervention in subgroups of patients. METHODS: A subgroup analysis was performed by adding interaction terms to the statistical model. Before analysis the following possible moderators for treatment were identified: age, gender, pain, functional status, heavy work, and sick leave in the previous 12 months. Cox regression analyses were performed and survival curves were plotted. RESULTS: The interaction (P = 0.02) between age (dichotomized at the median value) and the workplace intervention indicates a modifying effect. The workplace intervention is more effective for workers > or =44 years (HR, 95% CI = 2.5, [1.6, 4.1] vs. 1.2 [0.8, 1.8] for workers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1249
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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