Presentation M O15

M O15 (Oral Presentation):
Can we influence return-to-work self-efficacy in workers sick-listed with common mental disorders?

Presented by: Karlijn Marieke van Beurden


Van Beurden KM1, Van der Klink JJL2, Brouwers EPM1, Joosen MCW1, Mathijssen JJP1, Terluin B3, Van Weeghel J1,4,5

  1. Tilburg University, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tranzo Scientific Center for Care and Welfare, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg. The Netherlands.
  2. University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Department of Health Sciences, Division of Community and Occupational Medicine, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen. The Netherlands.
  3. VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine, PO Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam. The Netherlands.
  4. Phrenos Centre of Expertise, PO Box 1203, 3500 BE Utrecht. The Netherlands.
  5. Parnassia Group, Dijk en Duin Mental Health Center, PO Box 305, 1900 AH Castricum. The Netherlands.



Sickness absence due to common mental disorders (CMD) is a problem in many western countries as it can lead to long-term work disability. Since a higher level of self-efficacy in CMD is predictive for earlier return-to-work (RTW), it would be worthwhile to know if self-efficacy can be increased by occupational professionals. After confirming the predictive value of return-to-work self-efficacy (RTW-SE) in our sample and examining if guideline-based care modified this association, the aim of this study is to evaluate if guideline-based care leads to an increase of RTW-SE three months later.


Occupational physicians (OPs) received training to enhance adherence to a Dutch guideline with an emphasision on strategies that are supposed to enhance self-efficacy in workers with CMD. The 66 OPs were allocated to an intervention and a control group. In 128 sick-listed workers, the RTW-SE scale (range 1-6) and RTW were measured at baseline and three months later. Generalized linear mixed models analysis was used to evaluate the association between RTW-SE at baseline and RTW three months later. Linear mixed models analysis was used to evaluate if guideline-based care leads to increased RTW-SE three months later.


Workers with a higher RTW-SE score at baseline, compared to workers with a lower RTW-SE score, had significantly more often full RTW three months later than no RTW (OR 2.18, 95%CI 1.18 - 4.02). Guideline-based care did not influence this association. In workers who received guideline-based care the mean RTW-SE score at baseline was 3.3, which increased with 15% three months later. In workers receiving care as usual the mean RTW-SE score at baseline was 3.5, which increased with 8% three months later. Guideline-based care significantly increased return-to-work self-efficacy compared to care as usual (t=-2.30, p≤.05).


This study shows that during the first months of sickness absence RTW-SE of workers was positively influenced in a real life Dutch occupational health care setting. This insight is helpful for optimizing the recovery and RTW process, and to understand the role of RTW-SE in this process. Future research should focus on the circumstances under which RTW-SE can best be influenced and how effective interventions and guidance can be developed.

Schedule Details

Monday September 29
13:45 - 15:15 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (M O13 - M O24 and Seminar 2)
Session: Healthcare providers’ interventions I
Room B