Sickness absence and workplace levels of satisfaction with psychosocial work conditions at public service workplaces

Background The objective of this study was to examine the impact of psychosocial work conditions on sickness absence while addressing methodological weaknesses in earlier studies. Methods The participants were 13,437 employees from 698 public service workplace units in Aarhus County, Denmark. Satisfaction with psychosocial work conditions was rated on a scale from 0 (low) to 10 (high). Individual ratings were aggregated to workplace scores. Analysis of variance was used to compare the average number of days of yearly sickness absence in three groups with different levels of satisfaction with psychosocial work conditions. Results Sickness absence was 30.8% lower in the most satisfied group (11.7 days/year (CI 95%: 10.2; 13.1)) than in the least satisfied group (16.9 days/year (CI 95%: 15.3; 18.6)) adjusted for the covariates included. Conclusions Satisfaction with psychosocial work conditions has a strong and independent impact on sickness absence. Am. J. Ind. Med. 52:153-161, 2009.

Torsten Munch-Hansen MSc1 * Joanna Wieclaw PhD1 Esben Agerbo PhD2 Niels Westergaard-Nielsen PhD3 Mikael Rosenkilde MSc1 Jens Peter Bonde MD1
[1]Department of Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark;[2]National Center for Register Based Research, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark;[3]Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus, Denmark