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.
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.
There is a marked socioeconomic gradient in sickness absences, but the causes of this gradient are poorly understood. This study examined the role of health and work-related factors as determinants of educational differences in long-term sickness absence in an 8-year follow-up.
The study comprised a population-based sample of 5835 Finns aged 30-64 years (participation 89%, N=3946) in a register-based 8-year follow-up. This is a novel method to predict the population average of sickness absence days per working year (DWY) based on the expected outcome values using Poisson and gamma regression models.
The difference in the DWY between the lowest and highest educational level was clear among both men (3.2 days/year versus 8.0 days/year) and women (women 4.4 days/year versus 10.1 days/year). Adjusting for physical working conditions, health status and health behavior, and obesity attenuated the differences. Psychosocial working conditions had only a minor effect on the association. After adjusting for health and work-related factors, the difference attenuated by 1.8 days and 2.6 days among men and women, respectively.
Our results suggest that improvements in physical working conditions and reducing smoking, particularly among employees with a low level of education, may markedly reduce educational differences in sickness absence.
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.
The objective of this study was to examine the associations of working conditions with major weight gain. Three different groups of work-related factors were examined: (i) work arrangements, (ii) physical working conditions, and (iii) psychosocial working conditions. The data are based on the Helsinki Health Study (HHS) questionnaire surveys. A baseline mail survey was made among middle-aged employees of the City of Helsinki in 2000-2002. A follow-up survey was made in 2007. Regression analyses with odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. During the 5- to 7-year follow-up, 26% of women and 24% of men gained in weight 5 kg or more. Working conditions were mostly unassociated with weight gain. However, nighttime shift work, physical threat at work, and hazardous exposures at work were moderately associated with weight gain. More attention should be devoted to the prevention of weight gain in general and among risk groups in particular.