Mental disorders are a key cause of sickness absence (SA) and challenge prolonging working careers. Thus, evidence on the development of SA trends is needed. In this study, educational differences in long SAs due to mental disorders were examined in two age groups among employees of the City of Helsinki from 2004 to 2013.
All permanently and temporarily employed staff aged 18-34 and 35-49 were included in the analyses (n=~27800 per year). SA spells of =14 days due to mental disorders were examined annually. Education was classified to higher and lower levels. Joinpoint regression was used to identify major turning points in SA trends.
Joinpoint regression models showed that lower educated groups had more long SAs spells due to mental disorders than those groups with higher education. SA trends decreased during the study period in all studied age and educational groups. Lower educated age groups had similar SA trends. Younger employees with higher education had the fewest SAs.
A clear educational gradient was found in long SAs due to mental disorders during the study period. SA trends decreased from 2004 to 2013.
Self-reported angina symptoms are collected in epidemiological surveys. We aimed at validating the angina symptoms assessed by the Rose Questionnaire against registry data on coronary heart disease. A further aim was to examine the sex paradox in angina implying that women report more symptoms, whereas men have more coronary events.
Angina symptoms of 6601 employees of the City of Helsinki were examined using the postal questionnaire survey data combined with coronary heart disease registries.
The self-reported angina was classified as no symptoms, atypical pain, exertional chest pain, and stable angina symptoms. Reimbursed medications and hospital admissions were available from registries 10 years before the survey. Binomial regression analysis was used.
Stable angina symptoms were associated with hospital admissions and reimbursed medications [prevalence ratio (PR), 6.75; 95% confidence interval (CI), 4.56-9.99]. In addition, exertional chest pain (PR, 5.31; 95% CI, 3.45-8.18) was associated with coronary events. All events were more prevalent among men than women (PR, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.72-3.25).
The Rose Questionnaire remains a valid tool to distinguish healthy people from those with coronary heart disease. However, a notable part of those reporting symptoms have no confirmation of coronary heart disease in the registries. The female excess of symptoms and male excess of events may reflect inequality or delay in access to treatment, problems in identification and diagnosis, or more complex issues related to self-reported angina symptoms.
To examine the association between relative body weight and health status and the potential modifying effects of socioeconomic position and working conditions on this association.
The data were derived from three identical cross-sectional surveys conducted in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Respondents to postal surveys were middle-aged employees of the City of Helsinki (7148 women and 1799 men, response rate 67%). BMI was based on self-reported weight and height. Health status was measured by the Short-Form 36 subscales and component summaries.
Body weight was inversely associated with physical health, but in mental health, differences between BMI categories were small and inconsistent. In women, physical health deteriorated monotonically with increasing BMI, whereas in men, poor physical health was found among the obese only. Socioeconomic position did not modify the association between BMI and health. In women, the association between body weight and physical health became stronger with decreasing job control and increasing physical work load, whereas in men, a similar modifying effect was found for high job demands.
Body weight was associated with physical health only. Lower levels of relative weight in women than in men may be associated with poor physical health. High body weight combined with adverse working conditions may impose a double burden on physical health.
The aim of this study was to examine different domains of health functioning as predictors of sickness absence.
The Short Form 36 (SF-36) is one of the best known instruments measuring various domains of physical and mental health functioning. A questionnaire including the SF-36 was mailed to 40-60-year-old employees of the City of Helsinki in 2000-2002. For the subsequent three years, sickness absence episodes >2 weeks were derived from the employer's register. The predictive ability of the eight subscales and two component summaries of the SF-36 were compared using regression methods and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.
All eight SF-36 subscales and the two component summaries predicted the occurrence of sickness absence over the follow-up period. Among women, bodily pain was the strongest predictor, with 1 standard deviation increase in bodily pain increasing the occurrence of sickness absence by 77% [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 68-86%]. Role limitations due to emotional problems were the weakest predictor of sickness absence (29%, 95% CI 23-36%). Among men, the results were similar to those of women. In both genders, the area under the ROC curve was largest for bodily pain, general health, and physical functioning and lowest for mental health and role limitation due to emotional problems.
The subscales measuring physical domains of functioning were more strongly associated with sickness absence than the mental subscales. In particular, ability to perform daily activities, pain, and general health were important predictors of sickness absence >2 weeks.
Disability retirement (DR) among young employees is an increasing problem affecting work life and public health, given the potential major loss of working time. Little is known about educational differences in the risk of DR among young employees, despite the need for such knowledge in targeting preventive measures. We examined the association between education and DR due to any cause and to mental and non-mental causes among young employees.
Personnel register data of the City of Helsinki from the years 2002-2013 for 25-to-34-year-old employees (n= 41225) were linked to register data from the Finnish Centre for Pensions on DR (n= 381), and from Statistics Finland on education. Education was categorised into four hierarchical groups. The mean follow-up time was 5.7 years. Cox regression analysis was used.
There were 381 DR events and of the events, over 70% were due to mental disorders and 72% were temporary. A consistent educational gradient was found. Those with a basic education were at the highest risk of DR due to any cause (HR 4.64, 95% CI 3.07, 7.02), and to mental (HR 4.79, 95% CI 2.89, 7.94) and non-mental causes (HR 4.32, 95% CI 2.10, 8.91).
DR due to any cause, and to mental and non-mental causes, followed a clear educational gradient. Early intervention, treatment and rehabilitation with a view to maintaining work ability are needed among young employees, especially those with low education. Adapting working conditions to their health and work ability may also help to avoid premature exit from work.
Mental disorders are the key causes of disability retirement and are associated with a high risk of mortality. Social variations in excess mortality after disability retirement are nevertheless poorly understood. We examined socio-demographic differences in all-cause and cause-specific mortality after disability retirement due to depression and other mental disorders.
The data comprised a nationally representative sample of the Finnish population aged 25-64 in 1996 with no prior disability retirement due to mental disorders (N = 392,985). We used Cox regression analysis with disability retirement due to mental disorders as a time-varying covariate and mortality between 1997 and 2007 as the outcome variable.
We found excess mortality after disability retirement due to mental disorders as compared to those with no such retirement in all specific causes of death, in particular alcohol-related causes, suicide, and other unnatural causes. Excess suicide mortality was particularly large after depression-based disability retirement. Younger age groups, non-manual classes, and those living with a partner and children had largest excess mortality, especially from unnatural and alcohol-related causes. However, the absolute number of excess deaths was not always largest in these socio-demographic groups.
In young adulthood, disability retirement due to depression signifies severe health and other social disadvantages that lead to particularly large excess mortality, especially due to unnatural causes. The protective effects of a high socioeconomic position and family ties against unnatural and alcohol-related deaths are limited among those who have already developed depression or other mental disorders that have led to disability retirement.
Sickness absence is consistently higher in lower occupational classes, but attempts to analyse changes over time in socioeconomic differences are scarce. We examined trends in medically certified sickness absence by occupational class in Finland from 1996 to 2013 and assessed the magnitude and changes in absolute and relative occupational class differences.
Population-based, repeated cross-sectional study.
A 70% random sample of Finns aged between 25 and 63 years in the years 1996-2013.
The study focused on 25- to 63?year-old female (n between 572?246 and 690 925) and male (n between 525?698 and 644 425) upper and lower non-manual and manual workers. Disability and old age pensioners, students, the unemployed, entrepreneurs and farmers were excluded. The analyses covered 2?160?084 persons, that is, 77% of the random sample.For primary and secondary outcome measures, we examined yearly prevalence of over 10 working days long sickness absence by occupational class. The Slope Index of Inequality (SII) and the Relative Index of Inequality (RII) were used to assess the magnitude and changes in occupational class differences.
Compared with mid-1990s, sickness absence prevalence was slightly lower in 2013 in all occupational classes except for female lower non-manual workers. Hierarchical occupational class differences in sickness absence were found. Absolute differences (SII) peaked in 2005 in both women (0.12, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.13) and men (0.15, 95%?CI 0.14 to 0.15) but reached the previous level in women by 2009 and decreased modestly in men until 2013. Relative differences narrowed over time (p
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This study examined the association of pain with subsequent disability retirement due to all causes as well as musculoskeletal diseases, mental disorders, and a heterogeneous group of other diseases and to study whether pain has an effect of its own after taking into account long-standing illness, physician-diagnosed diseases, working conditions, and occupational class, which are the key factors affecting disability retirement. The data consisted of the Helsinki Health Study baseline survey linked to national pension register data (n=6258). Mean follow-up time was 8.1 years. The data included 594 disability retirement events. Pain (acute or chronic) was stratified by long-standing illness (yes/no). Cox regression analysis was performed. Chronic pain without and with co-occurring long-standing illness was strongly associated with all types of disability retirement outcomes, but the associations were particularly strong for disability retirement due to musculoskeletal diseases. The associations remained even when further adjusted for physician diagnosed chronic conditions and diseases, psychosocial and physical working conditions, and occupational class. Associations for acute pain were also found, but they were clearly weaker than those of chronic pain. Chronic pain contributes to disability retirement. Prevention and effective treatment of chronic pain may help prevent early retirement due to disability.
We examined the association of relative weight with individual income at different levels of socioeconomic status among gainfully employed Finnish women and men.
We used a population-based survey including 2068 women and 2314 men with linked income data from a taxation register. Regression analysis was used to calculate mean income levels within educational and occupational groups.
Compared with their normal-weight counterparts, obese women with higher education or in upper white-collar positions had significantly lower income; a smaller income disadvantage was seen in overweight women with secondary education and in manual workers. Excess body weight was not associated with income disadvantages in men.
Obesity is associated with a clear income disadvantage, particularly among women with higher socioeconomic status.
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The association between retirement and mental health is assumed to depend on socio-demographic factors, but there is a lack of empirical evidence. We examined antidepressant medication before and after retirement by age, gender, living arrangements, and social class. The material comprised nationally representative register data from Finland. Linear regression analysis was used to calculate changes in antidepressant medication 7.5?years before and after disability (N?=?42,937) and old-age (N?=?19,877) retirement in 1997-2007 by socio-demographic factors. No changes in antidepressant medication (mean DDD/3-month period) were observed around old-age retirement regardless of the socio-demographic factors. After a slight initial increase in antidepressant medication there was a substantial rise 1.5-0?years before disability retirement, after which there was a marked decrease, particularly during the first 3?years. These effects were less pronounced in retirement due to somatic causes. Age was the strongest modifying factor in retirement due to both depression and somatic causes, with a stronger increase and limited decrease in antidepressant medication among the younger age groups. The post-retirement decrease was also somewhat stronger among men, and among those in higher social classes and those living with a spouse in depression-related retirement. In somatic causes, the pre-retirement increase was stronger among those in higher social classes. Prevention and rehabilitation of mental-health problems in association with work disability should focus particularly on young adults, among whom the strong increase in antidepressant medication before disability retirement, and the continued high levels of medication after the transition signify long periods of morbidity and premature retirement.