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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181aa012a
Original Articles

Depressive Complaints as a Predictor of Sickness Absence Among the Working Population

Lexis, Monique A. S. MSc; Jansen, Nicole W. H. PhD; van Amelsvoort, Ludovic G. P. M. PhD; van den Brandt, Piet A. PhD; Kant, IJmert PhD

Continued Medical Education
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Objective: To study the relationship between depressive complaints and sickness absence in the working population.

Methods: Data from a prospective epidemiological cohort (n = 3339) were used. Depressive complaints were measured with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD-D) Scale. Sickness absence was assessed objectively through individual record linkage with the company registers.

Results: Higher levels of depressive complaints were associated with a shorter time to first sickness absence spell and a longer duration of sickness absence. In women with mild depressive complaints, the average number of sickness absence days over 10 months follow-up was 27.37 (SD = 64.73) days versus 11.01 (SD = 30.03) days (P < 0.001) in employees scoring within the reference range. In men this was 14.48 (SD = 38.73) days versus 7.67 (SD = 25.80) days (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Prevention of mild depressive complaints might be beneficial in preventing future sickness absence.

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine


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