Objective: The aim was to examine whether staff downsizing was related to long-term psychiatric sickness absence.
Methods: We used aggregate data on sickness absence from AFA insurance, as well as information on staff numbers from the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions. Bootstrap regression analyses were used to elucidate whether there was a relationship between reduction in personnel and changes in sickness rates.
Results: A staff reduction of 1% increased the sickness rate, on average, by 9%. The associations were similar in men and women as well as in different age groups, although statistical significance was only reached in the groups of women and middle-aged employees.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that downsizing may be related to subsequent increases in psychiatric sickness absence. The association appeared after a time-delay of several years.