The aim of the study is to examine the risk of sickness absence in public sector employees with allergic rhinitis or asthma or both conditions combined. This is a prospective cohort study of 48,296 Finnish public sector employees. Data from self-reported rhinitis and asthma were obtained from survey responses given during either the 2000-2002 or 2004 periods. Follow-up data on sickness absences for the public sector employees surveyed were acquired from records kept by the employers. During the follow-up, mean sick leave days per year for respondents were 17.6 days for rhinitis alone, 23.8 days for asthma alone and 24.2 days for both conditions combined. Respondents with neither condition were absent for a mean of 14.5 days annually. The impact of asthma and rhinitis combined on the risk of sick leave days was marginal compared to asthma alone (RR 1.1; 95% CI 1.0-1.3). In the subgroup analysis (those with current asthma or allergy medication), the risk ratio for medically certified sickness absence (>3 days) was 2.0 (95% CI 1.9-2.2) for those with asthma and rhinitis combined. Rhinitis, asthma and both these conditions combined increased the risk of days off work.
To examine antidepressant use before and after the diagnosis of diabetes.
This study was a longitudinal analysis of diabetic and nondiabetic groups selected from a prospective cohort study of 151,618 men and women in Finland (the Finnish Public Sector Study, 1995-2005). We analyzed the use of antidepressants in those 493 individuals who developed type 2 diabetes and their 2,450 matched nondiabetic control subjects for each year during a period covering 4 years before and 4 years after the diagnosis. For comparison, we undertook a corresponding analysis on 748 individuals who developed cancer and their 3,730 matched control subjects.
In multilevel longitudinal models, the odds ratio for antidepressant use in those who developed diabetes was 2.00 (95% CI 1.57-2.55) times greater than that in nondiabetic subjects. The relative difference in antidepressant use between these groups was similar before and after the diabetes diagnosis except for a temporary peak in antidepressant use at the year of the diagnosis (OR 2.66 [95% CI 1.94-3.65]). In incident cancer case subjects, antidepressant use substantially increased after the cancer diagnosis, demonstrating that our analysis was sensitive for detecting long-term changes in antidepressant trajectories when they existed.
Awareness of the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes may temporarily increase the risk of depressive symptoms. Further research is needed to determine whether more prevalent use of antidepressants noted before the diagnosis of diabetes relates to effects of depression, side effects of antidepressant use, or a common causal pathway for depression and diabetes.
We examined the associations of contractual job insecurity (fixed-term vs permanent employment contract) and subjectively assessed job insecurity with sickness presenteeism among those who had no sickness absences during the study year.
Survey data from a sample of 18,454 Public sector employees were gathered in 2004 (the Finnish Public Sector study).
Fixed-term employees were less likely to report working while ill (odds ratio = 0.88, 95% confidence interval = 0.77 to 0.99) than permanent employees. Subjective insecurity was associated with higher levels of working while ill, and this association was stronger among older employees. These results remained after adjustments for demographics, health-related variables, and optimism.
Our results suggest that subjective job insecurity might be even more important than contractual insecurity when a public sector employee makes the decision to go to work despite feeling ill.
Mental ill-health, particularly depression and anxiety, is a leading and increasing cause of disability worldwide, especially for women.
We examined the prospective association between physical activity and symptoms of mental ill-health in younger, mid-life and older working women. Participants were 26 913 women from the ongoing cohort Finnish Public Sector Study with complete data at two phases, excluding those who screened positive for mental ill-health at baseline. Mental health was assessed using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire. Self-reported physical activity was expressed in metabolic equivalent task (MET) hours per week. Logistic regression models were used to analyse associations between physical activity levels and subsequent mental health.
There was an inverse dose-response relationship between physical activity and future symptoms of mental ill-health. This association is consistent with a protective effect of physical activity and remained after adjustments for socio-demographic, work-related and lifestyle factors, health and body mass index. Furthermore, those mid-life and older women who reported increased physical activity by more than 2 MET hours per week demonstrated a reduced risk of later mental ill-health in comparison with those who did not increase physical activity. This protective effect of increased physical activity did not hold for younger women.
This study adds to the evidence for the protective effect of physical activity for later mental health in women. It also suggests that increasing physical activity levels may be beneficial in terms of mental health among mid-life and older women. The alleviation of menopausal symptoms may partly explain age effects but further research is required.
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Social environments, like neighbourhoods, are increasingly recognised as determinants of health. While several studies have reported an association of low neighbourhood socio-economic status with morbidity, mortality and health risk behaviour, little is known of the health effects of neighbourhood crime rates. Using the ongoing 10-Town study in Finland, we examined the relations of average household income and crime rate measured at the local area level, with smoking status and intensity by linking census data of local area characteristics from 181 postal zip codes to survey responses to smoking behaviour in a cohort of 23,008 municipal employees. Gender-stratified multilevel analyses adjusted for age and individual occupational status revealed an association between low local area income rate and current smoking. High local area crime rate was also associated with current smoking. Both local area characteristics were strongly associated with smoking intensity. Among ever-smokers, being an ex-smoker was less likely among residents in areas with low average household income and a high crime rate. In the fully adjusted model, the association between local area income and smoking behaviour among women was substantially explained by the area-level crime rate. This study extends our knowledge of potential pathways through which social environmental factors may affect health.
Despite injustice at the workplace being a potential source of sleep problems, longitudinal evidence remains scarce. We examined whether changes in perceived organizational justice predicted changes in insomnia symptoms.
Data on 24 287 Finnish public sector employees (82% women), from three consecutive survey waves between 2000 and 2012, were treated as 'pseudo-trials'. Thus, the analysis of unfavourable changes in organizational justice included participants without insomnia symptoms in Waves 1 and 2, with high organizational justice in Wave 1 and high or low justice in Wave 2 (N = 6307). In the analyses of favourable changes in justice, participants had insomnia symptoms in Waves 1 and 2, low justice in Wave 1 and high or low justice in Wave 2 (N = 2903). In both analyses, the outcome was insomnia symptoms in Wave 3. We used generalized estimating equation models to analyse the data.
After adjusting for social and health-related covariates in Wave 1, unfavourable changes in relational organizational justice (i.e. fairness of managerial behaviours) were associated with increased odds of developing insomnia symptoms [odds ratio = 1.15; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-1.30]. A favourable change in relational organizational justice was associated with lower odds of persistent insomnia symptoms (odds ratio = 0.83; 95% CI 0.71-0.96). Changes in procedural justice (i.e. the fairness of decision-making procedures) were not associated with insomnia symptoms.
These data suggest that changes in perceived relational justice may affect employees' sleep quality. Decreases in the fairness of managerial behaviours were linked to increases in insomnia symptoms, whereas rises in fairness were associated with reduced insomnia symptoms.
The size of a person's social network is linked to health and longevity, but it is unclear whether the number of strong social ties or the number of weak social ties is most influential for health. We examined social network characteristics as predictors of mortality in the Finnish Public Sector Study (n = 7,617) and the Health and Social Support Study (n = 20,816). Social network characteristics were surveyed at baseline in 1998. Information about mortality was obtained from the Finnish National Death Registry. During a mean follow-up period of 16 years, participants with a small social network (=10 members) were more likely to die than those with a large social network (=21 members) (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 1.23, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 1.46). Mortality risk was increased among participants with both a small number of strong ties (=2 members) and a small number of weak ties (=5 members) (HR = 1.55, 95% CI: 1.26, 1.79) and among participants with both a large number of strong ties and a small number of weak ties (HR = 1.28, 95% CI: 1.08, 1.52), but not among those with a small number of strong ties and a large number of weak ties (HR = 1.04, 95% CI: 0.87, 1.25). These findings suggest that in terms of mortality risk, the number of weak ties may be an important component of social networks.
To examine the combined effects of childhood adversities and low adult socioeconomic status (SES) on the risk of future work disability.
Included were 34 384 employed Finnish Public Sector study participants who responded to questions about childhood adversities (none vs any adversity, eg, parental divorce or financial difficulties) in 2008, and whose adult SES in 2008 was available. We categorised exposure into four groups: neither (reference), childhood adversity only, low SES only or both. Participants were followed from 2009 until the first period of register-based work disability (sickness absence >9 days or disability pension) due to any cause, musculoskeletal or mental disorders; retirement; death or end of follow-up (December 2011). We ran Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for behavioural, health-related and work-related covariates, and calculated synergy indices for the combined effects.
When compared with those with neither exposure, HR for work disability from any cause was increased among participants with childhood adversity, with low SES, and those with both exposures. The highest hazard was observed in those with both exposures: HR 2.53, 95% CI 2.29?to 2.79 for musculoskeletal disability, 1.55, 95% CI 1.36?to 1.78 for disability due to mental disorders and 1.29, 95% CI 1.20?to 1.39 for disability due to other reasons. The synergy indices did not indicate synergistic effects.
These findings indicate that childhood psychosocial adversity and low adult SES are additive risk factors for work disability.
To examine whether exposure to workplace stressors predicts changes in physical activity and the risk of insufficient physical activity.
Prospective data from the Finnish Public Sector Study. Repeated exposure to low job control, high job demands, low effort, low rewards and compositions of these (job strain and effort-reward imbalance) were assessed at Time 1 (2000-2002) and Time 2 (2004). Insufficient physical activity (
Epidemiological studies suggest that long working hours and shift work may increase the risk of chronic diseases, but the "toxic" elements remain unclear due to crude assessment of working time patterns based on self-reports. In this methodological paper, we present and evaluate objective register-based algorithms for assessment of working time patterns and validate a method to retrieve standard payroll data on working hours from the employer electronic records.
Detailed working hour records from employers' registers were obtained for 12 391 nurses and physicians, a total 14.5 million separate work shifts from 2008-2013. We examined the quality and validity of the obtained register data and designed 29 algorithms characterizing four potentially health-relevant working time patterns: (i) length of the working hours; (ii) time of the day; (iii) shift intensity; and (iv) social aspects of the working hours.
The collection of the company-based register data was feasible and the retrieved data matched with the originally published shift plans. The transferred working time records included