Long-term sickness absence is a considerable health and economic problem in the industrialised world. Factors that might predict return to work (RTW) are therefore of interest.
To examine the impact of psychosocial work characteristics on RTW three months after the end of a RTW programme.
A cohort study of 251 sick-listed employees from 40 different treatment and rehabilitation services in Norway recruited from February to December 2012. The Job Content Questionnaire was used to gather information on the psychosocial work conditions. Full or partial RTW was measured three months after the end of the RTW programme, using data from the national sickness absence register. Logistic regression analyses were performed to investigate the association between the psychosocial work characteristics and RTW.
Having low psychological job demands (OR?=?0.4, 95% CI: 0.2-0.9), high co-worker- (OR?=?3.4, 95% CI: 1.5-5.8), and supervisor support (OR?=?3.4, 95% CI: 1.6-7.3), and being in a low-strain job (low job demands and high control) (OR?=?4.6, 95% CI: 1.1-18.6) were predictive of being in work three months after the end of the RTW programme, after adjusting for several potential prognostic factors.
Interventions aimed at returning people to work might benefit from putting more emphasise on psychosocial work characteristics in the future.