Purpose and theoretical basis
The Worker Role Interview (WRI) [Ekbladh & Haglund, 2012] is an assessment instrument whose purpose is to identify how psychosocial and environmental factors influence individuals’ possibilities to remain in work, return to work or to get a job. The theoretical basis for WRI is the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) [Kielhofner, 2008].
By means of the WRI assessment, which consists of a semi-structured interview followed by a rating, information is obtained about the individual’s previous and current work situation, his/her life situation in relation to having a work role, and about how the individual views his/her future work situation. After completion of the interview, the professional user rates WRI’s 16 variables, divided into the following six areas: self-perception of ability, values, interests, roles, habits and environment. The first three areas comprise motivation factors for returning to work, e g faith in one’s own ability and the ability to take responsibility. The roles and habits areas consider lifestyle factors such as the individual’s interaction with his/her environment, i e how physical and psychosocial environment factors at and outside of work affect the possibility of working. The information obtained in an assessment using WRI is significant for assessing individuals’ work ability as well as for identifying individual-specific work rehabilitation needs. The variables in WRI have been linked to the concepts in ICF (the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health), and the linking indicates that the variables in WRI relates to areas and categories in all ICF components, i e body functions, activity and participation, and environmental factors [Kielhofner, 2008]. The concepts used in WRI-S 4.0 have been adapted to the Swedish translation of MOHO [Kielhofner, 2012].
WRI is suitable for use with people who have an injury or illness which has meant absence from work, and/or for people who have been outside the labour market for an extended period and do not have a specific job to go back to. WRI is thus not tied to specific illnesses, injuries or diagnoses – instead it can be used for clients with any form of work-related difficulties.
The manual for WRI-S 4.0 includes instructions for the interview procedure and the subsequent rating of WRI’s variables. The manual’s interview guide and its descriptions of each variable are central elements of this. At the end of the manual is a compilation form and a diagram overview of the ratings, and also a suggested structure for summarising the results of the WRI assessment. It furthermore contains a description of how MOHO, as the theoretical frame of reference, relates to WRI and how the model can offer support for continued intervention on the basis of the assessment results. There is also a brief section about research into and development of the instrument. The user who wants to apply WRI in an appropriate and professional way needs to read the manual and to have a basic familiarity with the Model of Human Occupation. Assessments using WRI can appropriately be combined with assessments made using the instruments Assessment of Work Performance (AWP), Assessment of Work Characteristics (AWC) and Work Environment Impact Scale (WEIS).
Scientific studies of WRI
The first version of WRI was developed in Chicago in 1991 [Velozo et al, 1991]. In 1996 WRI was translated into Swedish. Studies of WRI’s psychometric characteristics have led to a series of revisions of the instrument. The Swedish WRI version 4 is based on the most recent American version of the instrument (10.0) [Braveman et al, 2005], which was developed in collaboration between researchers in USA, UK and Sweden. Extensive research into WRI’s psychometric characteristics has been carried out, and the instrument has obtained good results. Test-retest reliability and inter-assessor reliability was tested in most studies [Haglund et al, 1997; Velozo et al, 1999; Forsyth et al, 2006; Fenger & Kramer, 2007; Köller et al; Lohss et al], and WRI’s predictive validity for a return to work has also been tested [Velozo et al, 1999; Ekbladh et al, 2004; Ekbladh et al, 2010], as has WRI usability in Sweden [Yngve & Ekbladh, 2015].
For more information about user licences for the instruments and courses on the use of the assessment instruments: