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Multilevel Analysis of Individual and Contextual Factors as Predictors of Return to Work

Labriola, Merete MPH; Lund, Thomas PhD; Christensen, Karl B. PhD; Kristensen, Tage S. DrMedSci

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2006 - Volume 48 - Issue 11 - p 1181-1188
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000243359.52562.a5
Original Articles

Objective: The objective of this study was to examine if individual and contextual levels of work environment factors predict return to work (RTW).

Methods: Baseline data from 52 workplaces was linked to a national absence register. Four hundred twenty-eight persons with more than 2 weeks of sickness absence during a 2-year period were identified. Follow up was 1 year to examine three RTW outcomes. Multilevel logistic and Poisson regression models were used.

Results: At the individual level, significant associations were found between one psychosocial and four physical factors and RTW within 4 weeks. Two physical factors predicted RTW within 1 year. Two psychosocial and two physical factors significantly prolonged duration of sickness absence. No significant contextual level risk factors were found.

Conclusion: At the individual level, both the psychosocial and physical work environment factors are important independent predictors of RTW.

From the National Institute of Occupational Health; Research Unit on Absence and Early Retirement, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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

©2006The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine