Malingerers or maligned? Psychological injury and workers compensation


This paper entitled “Malingerers or Maligned: Violent Workplace Crime, Psychological Injury and Workers’ Compensation“, authored by Paul Marks (2002) examines the institutional response to increasing numbers of claims for stress-related injury in the workplace. All workers who make claims for stress-related injury are viewed as a homogonous group despite striking variations in aetiology.

Despite the focus on aetiology, the idea that many of these claimants are malingerers prevails. Marks challenges that view using the preliminary results of his research. The primary source of data is from interviews with workers who suffered psychological injury because of their involvement in a violent workplace incident.

Malingerers or maligned? Psychological injury and workers compensation

Violent Workplace Crime, Psychological Injury and Workers Compensation


Open the paper in a new window: Violent Workplace Crime, Psychological Injury and Workers’ Compensation


Thank you to our mighty co-warrior Trinny for the link!


3 Responses to “Malingerers or maligned? Psychological injury and workers compensation”

  1. Its is about time Australian workers compensation systems delimitated between different type of psych injury claims. To even refer to claims by workers that have been victims of violent crimes as “stress claims” is absurd, offensive to the victims of the crime and trivialises the severe trauma that these victims have been subjected to.

    These are workers who have been the victim of a serious violent CRIME. And the incidents that gave rise to their injury will in most cases be matters under investigation by the police and often there will be no dispute or difference in ‘perceptions’ as to whether the incident occurred or not or whether it was sufficient to cause a psych injury to the worker (though I have no doubts the average claims manager will still give it a go attempt to dispute either the incident or the injury!). In addition, more often than not these workers will also face the addition trauma associated with their journey through the police investigation process and the criminal justice system as a witness. Something other all other types of claimants will never have to contend with.

    Workers comp claims by workers who are victims of violent armed hold ups, rape, kidnap and hostage situations etc should be classified as “Psychological Trauma” claims. “Stress” claims should relate to all other types of psych injury claims from bullying, harassment, workplace inter-personal conflict, work stress etc., which would still encompass the vast majority of psych claims. To continue to conflate the two types of incidents is absurd.

    Though some victims of say bullying will probably dispute, there is simply NO comparison between being bullied (no matter how nasty and severe) and say being raped or taken hostage at gun point.

  2. Workplace bullying victims sought for new study

    Wednesday, 20 February 2013

    New research at the University of Adelaide will investigate people’s difficulties returning to the workforce after bullying, sexual harassment or discrimination at work.

    Researchers are now seeking victims of workplace bullying and harassment who have not yet returned to work, so that their experiences can help others.

    The study is being conducted by Dr Moira Jenkins, a Visiting Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology and Director of Aboto Psychology Services.

    “Bullying and harassment often results in the victim being forced to leave their workplace, and can result in anxiety, depression, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as poor self-esteem and low levels of confidence,” Dr Jenkins says.

    “Many bullied individuals find it difficult to return to gainful employment. They are often scared that the bullying might occur again, and their level of confidence is so low they become highly anxious just thinking about applying for other jobs.”

    Dr Jenkins will conduct a series of focus groups with people who have experienced bullying or harassment who are no longer working.

    “The main aim of this is to identify any barriers they have returning to work,” she says.

    “It’s important for us to better understand what the impact of bullying or harassment has had on their current daily life, and on their ability to work.

    “The information gained in these focus groups will be used to design a program to help bullied and harassed workers successfully return to the workforce.”

    Focus group participants will be asked to fill out a short survey about their experiences. Confidentiality is guaranteed for both individuals and workplaces.

    “If interested people are unable to participate in the focus groups, but would like to talk to me about their experiences, they can do so over the phone and I will send them our questionnaire. It’s very important that we listen to their stories and learn about the problems they are facing,” Dr Jenkins says.

    People interested in taking part in the study should contact Dr Moira Jenkins by phone: 0412 733 453 or email:

    This research is supported by SafeWork SA through the Augusta Zadow Scholarship.


    • Thanks for very professional information, it seems strange that our “beloved” Worksafe have not yet sponsored a similar research.