Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine if burnout and psychosocial factors predicted long-term sickness absence (>2 weeks) at work unit level.
Methods: Data were collected prospectively at 82-work units in human services (PUMA cohort, PUMA: Danish acronym for Burnout, Motivation and Job satisfaction) followed up during the proceeding 18 months regarding onset of long-term sickness absence. Questionnaire data regarding burnout and psychosocial factors were aggregated at work unit level. We used Poisson regression models with psychosocial factors and burnout as predictors of long-term sickness absence for more than 18 months based on data from a national absence register.
Results: Long-term sickness absence was predicted by psychosocial factors and by burnout at work unit level.
Conclusion: To reduce sickness absence, organizations within human services should improve the psychosocial work environment, and equally important, the organizations should be attentive to employees with symptoms of burnout.