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Do positive psychosocial work factors protect against two-year incidence of long-term sickness absence among employees with and those without depressive symptoms? A prospective study

By Fehmidah Munir, Hermann Burr, Jorgen Vinslov Hansen, Reiner Rugulies and Karina Nielsen


This article was published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research [© Elsevier] and the definitive version is available at: This study sought to examine the influence of protective work factors on long-term sickness absence among employees reporting different levels of depressive symptoms in a representative sample of the Danish workforce. Methods: Questionnaire data were collected from a random sample of members of the Danish workforce aged between 18 and 64 years using information from two surveys with baselines in 2000 and 2005. From the year 2000 baseline, questionnaires from 5510 employees (2790 males and 2720 females) were included; from the 2005 baseline, questionnaires from 8393 employees (3931 males and 4462 females) were included. Baseline data were collected on depressive symptoms, leadership, colleague support, and decision latitude. Information on 2-year incidence of sickness absence was derived from an official register. Results: Stratified analyses on depressive symptom scores (none, moderate, and severe) indicate that quality of leadership was associated with reduced sickness absence to a somewhat stronger degree for those with moderate depressive symptoms (adjusted hazard ratio=0.88, 95% confidence interval=0.78-0.98) than for those without depressive symptoms and that high decision latitude was associated with reduced sickness absence to a somewhat larger degree for those without depressive symptoms (adjusted hazard ratio=0.91, 95% CI=0.85-0.97) than for those with depressive symptoms. However, quality of leadership and decision latitude did not interact significantly with depressive symptom status. Conclusions: Quality of leadership may protect against long-term sick leave to a certain degree in those with moderate depressive symptoms. Possible interactions between psychosocial working conditions and depression status should be investigated in larger populations

Topics: Depressive symptoms, Protective factors, Psychosocial work, Long-term sickness absence
Publisher: © Elsevier
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2010.09.014
OAI identifier:

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