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Psychosocial Work Environment Exposures as Risk Factors for Long-Term Sickness Absence Among Danish Employees: Results From DWECS/DREAM

Lund, Thomas PhD; Labriola, Merete MPH; Christensen, Karl Bang PhD; Bültmann, Ute PhD; Villadsen, Ebbe; Burr, Hermann PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2005 - Volume 47 - Issue 11 - p 1141-1147
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000174301.80318.f2
Original Articles

Objective: This study examines effects of psychosocial risk factors on long-term sickness absence, and investigates possible interactions between psychosocial and physical work environment risk factors.

Methods: A total of 5357 employees were interviewed in 2000 regarding work environment and followed up during the proceeding 1.5 years regarding onset of long-term sickness absence.

Results: Long-term sickness absence among female employees was associated with role conflict, low reward, and poor management quality. Demands for hiding emotions and high emotional demands predicted long-term sickness absence among men. No significant interactions between psychosocial and physical exposures were found for female or male employees.

Conclusions: The study suggests a potential for reducing long-term sickness absence through interventions targeted toward reducing role conflict, and improving reward and management quality among female employees, and through reducing emotional demands and demands for hiding emotions among male employees.

From the National Institute of Occupational Health, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Address correspondence to: Thomas Lund, PhD, National Institute of Occupational Health, Lerso Parkallé 105, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark; E-mail:

©2005The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine