Presentation T O13

T O13 (Oral Presentation):
Predictors of recurrent sickness absence in workers with common mental disorders

Presented by: Iris Arends


van der Klink JJL1, van Rhenen W2,3, de Boer MR4, Bültmann U1

  1. Department of Health Sciences, Community and Occupational Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen / University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
  2. Center for Human Resource, Organization and Management Effectiveness, Business University Nyenrode, Breukelen, the Netherlands
  3. 365 Occupational Health Services, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  4. Department of Health Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



Common mental disorders (CMDs) (i.e. depressive, anxiety and adjustment disorders) are a frequent cause of sickness absence (SA), work disability and reduced on-the-job productivity. Several studies have investigated predictors of first SA and return to work (RTW) among workers with CMDs, but limited evidence is available on factors predicting recurrent SA among these workers. The aim of this study was to investigate whether socio-demographic, disease-related, personal, and work-related factors are predictors of recurrent sickness absence (SA) in workers who returned to work after SA due to CMDs.


Based on a cluster-randomized controlled trial, this prospective study comprised 158 participants, aged 18–63 years, with partial or full RTW and an occupational physician-diagnosed CMD. Data on predictors were collected at baseline with questionnaires and administrative data. The outcome was the incidence of recurrent SA (i.e. decreased work for ≥30% of the contract hours due to all-cause SA regardless of partial or full RTW) at 6 and 12 months follow-up. Longitudinal logistic regression analysis with backward elimination was used.


We found that company size >100 (odds ratio (OR) 2.59, 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 1.40–4.80) and conflicts with the supervisor (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.21–4.04) were predictive of recurrent SA. Having ≥1 chronic diseases decreased the risk of recurrent SA (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.30–0.96).


Two work-related and one disease-related factor predicted the incidence of recurrent SA among workers with CMDs. Health care providers can use these findings to detect and help workers who have returned to work and are at higher risk for recurrent SA. Furthermore, future interventions to prevent recurrent SA could focus on supervisor conflicts; the only risk factor we found that is amenable to change.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
13:45 - 15:15 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (T O13 - T O24 and Seminar 5)
Session: Work Disability in workers with mental disorders
Room B