Return to work after cancer in the UK: Attitudes and experiences of line managers

Ziv Amir, Phil Wynn, Fong Chan, David Strauser, Stuart Whitaker, Karen Luker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Introduction: With improvements in diagnosis, treatment and survival rates, returning to work after cancer is of increasing importance to individuals and employers. Although line managers can play a potentially important role in the return to work process, research thus far has focused on the return to work process from the perspective of cancer survivors. Aim To explore the attitudes of line managers towards employees with a cancer diagnosis. Methods: A short self-administered, on-line questionnaire was circulated to managers in the North East of England. Factorial structures of the line managers' attitudes survey was examined using exploratory factor analysis and the effect of demographic characteristics and organisational variable on the attitudes of line managers was examined using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). Results: Line managers' attitudes can be conceptualized according to five empirical factors: (a) fearful attitudes towards cancer survivors, (b) supportive attitudes, (c) linemanagers' perceived burden, (d) maintaining normality, and (e) financial benefits issues. Overall, line-managers hold relatively positive attitudes toward cancer survivors and are willing to support them in their effort to return to work. However, managers tend to harbour negative attitudes regarding the individual cancer survivors' ability both to engage in work related activities and in meeting the demands of employment. MANOVA results also indicated that female managers hold more positive attitudes than male managers toward cancer diagnosis, less concerned about workload burdens of working with cancer survivors, and more willing to help cancer survivors maintain normality. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that employers/ line-managers need to be provided with training, support, and resources to help them facilitate employment and job retention of employees diagnosed with cancer.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)435-442
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of occupational rehabilitation
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


    • Attitudes
    • Cancer survivors
    • Employment
    • Line managers
    • Rehabilitation


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