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Multilevel Analysis of Workplace and Individual Risk Factors for Long-Term Sickness Absence

Labriola, Merete MPH; Christensen, Karl B. PhD; Lund, Thomas PhD; Nielsen, Martin Lindhardt MD; Diderichsen, Finn MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2006 - Volume 48 - Issue 9 - p 923-929
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000229783.04721.d2
Original Articles

Objective: The objective of this study was to examine if psychosocial and physical work-environment factors predict long-term sickness absence (>8 weeks) at both the individual and the workplace level.

Material and Methods: Data were collected in a prospective study in 52 Danish workplaces. Psychosocial factors were aggregated as workplace means. We used multilevel logistic regression models with psychosocial factors as predictors of long-term sickness absence over 5 years based on data from a national absence register.

Results: Long-term sickness absence was predicted by physical work-environment factors at the individual level and psychosocial work environment factors at the workplace level. Interaction between the individual physical and workplace-level psychosocial risk factors was found.

Conclusion: Workplace-based absence reduction interventions can be enhanced by concurrently addressing the individual and the workplace level.

From the National Institute of Occupational Health, Copenhagen, Denmark (Mr Labriola, Dr Christensen, Dr Lund); the Department of Occupational Medicine, Hillerød Hospital, Hillerød, Denmark (Dr Nielsen); and the Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (Dr Diderichsen).

Address correspondence to: Merete Labriola, MPH, National Institute of Occupational Health, Lerso Parkallé 105, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark; E-mail:

©2006The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine