Objective: To investigate whether experience of low meaning at work (MAW) and low affective organizational commitment (AOC) predicts long-term sickness absence (LTSA) for more than 3 consecutive weeks and whether this association is dependent on the occupational group.
Methods: Survey data pooling 61,302 observations were fitted to the DREAM register containing information on payments of sickness absence compensation. Using multiadjusted Cox regression, observations were followed for an 18-month follow-up period to assess the risk for LTSA.
Results: Low levels of MAW and AOC significantly increased the risk for LTSA during follow-up. Subgroup analyses showed that associations were statistically significant for employees working with clients and office workers but not for employees working with customers and manual workers. Further analyses showed that associations between MAW and LTSA varied significantly across the four occupational groups.
Conclusions: Meaning at work and affective organizational commitment significantly predict LTSA. Promoting MAW and AOC may contribute toward reducing LTSA in contemporary workplaces.