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Examining Factors Associated With the Length of Short-Term Disability-Free Days Among Workers With Previous Short-Term Disability Episodes

Dewa, Carolyn S. MPH, PhD; Chen, Min-Chi PhD; Chau, Nancy MStat; Dermer, Stanley MD, FRCP(C)

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 6 - p 669–673
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31821e5a0b
Original Articles

Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine the timing of short-term disability recurrence among workers who have previously experienced a short-term disability episode.

Methods: The dataset comes from a Canadian resource sector company's 2003 to 2006 short-term disability leave and human resource datasets. The multi-year dataset consists of the records of 3593 employees who experienced at least on short-term disability episode between 2003 and 2006.

Results: The overall 1-year disability-free rate was 72.1% ± 1.6%. About half of workers with previous disability episodes for mental/behavioral disorders were disability free for more than 800 days. In contrast, about 50% of workers with previous disability episodes for physical disorders were disability free for more than 1300 days.

Conclusions: These findings suggest the majority of workers with previous short-term disability episodes for mental/behavioral disorders remain disability free for more than 2 years. However, the duration of disability free days for these workers is half that of other workers with previous episodes.

From the Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Dr Dewa); Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto (Dr Dewa); Department of Public Health, School of Medicine Chang Gung University (Dr Chen); and S.W. Dermer and Associates, Professional Corporation (Dr Dermer), Burlington, Ontario.

Address correspondence to: Carolyn S. Dewa, MPH, PhD, Head, Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health, Senior Scientist/Health Economist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 455 Spadina Avenue, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2S1, Canada; E-mail: carolyn_dewa@camh.net.

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine