Presentation M O28

M O28 (Oral Presentation):
Do job demands, decision control and social support predict return to work after occupational rehabilitation? The Rapid-Return-to-Work-study

Presented by: Lise Aasen Haveraaen


Haveraaen L1, Skarpaas LS2, Berg JE2, Aas RW1,2,3

  1. Presenter, Stavanger
  2. Faculty of Health, Oslo and Akershus University College, Oslo
  3. Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway



BACKGROUND: Long-term sickness absence is an increasing economic problem in the industrialised world. Although the opportunity to be on sick-leave is an important welfare system meant to protect individuals with health problems, long-term sickness absence has been found to foster negative consequences for the sick-listed individual. Factors that might predict return to work are therefore of interest. Psychosocial work characteristics are known to influence health, but few studies have assessed the influence of psychosocial factors on return to work. The aim of the study was therefore to examine the impact of psychosocial work characteristics on return to work after occupational rehabilitation.


METHODS: The study was designed as a cohort study of 470 sick-listed employees from 40 different treatment and rehabilitation programmes in Norway. The patients were recruited between February and December 2012. A Norwegian translation of the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ) was used to gather information on the psychosocial work conditions. The participants were subsequently followed until eighteen months after enrollment to a return-to-work programme. Cox proportional hazard regression analyses were used to investigate the association between the psychosocial work characteristics and time to first return to work (both partial and full).


RESULTS: Having high psychological job demands (HR = .709, 95% CI: .574-.877) or being in a job with low decision control (HR = 1.278, 95% CI: 1.026-1.591) were both independent predictors of delay in return to work. Being in a high-strain job (high demands – low control) was associated with longer duration until return to work (HR = .660, 95% CI: .511-.853), with a mean difference of 60 days (p = .004). Both high supervisor support (HR = 1.450, 95% CI: 1.157-1.818) and high co-worker support (HR = 1.492, 95% CI: 1.153-1.931) were associated with higher return-to-work rates during the first year of absence, however, only supervisor support had an association with return to work at a later stage in the return-to-work-process (HR = 1.254, 95% CI: 1.007-1.562)


CONCLUSION: The study revealed that psychosocial work characteristics had an impact on duration until return to work. Interventions aimed at returning people to work might therefore benefit from including these issues. Providers of rehabilitation programmes need to be focused on workplace issues predicting return to work in the future

Schedule Details

Monday September 29
15:45 - 17:15 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (M O25 - M O37 and Seminar 3)
Session: Long-term work disability
Room A