Presentation T P2

T P2 (Poster Presentation):
Positive and negative encounters with the Social Insurance Agency and health care, among individuals on long-term sick leave, and return to work

Presented by: Emilie Friberg

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Friberg E1, Alexanderson K1

  1. Division of Insurance Medicine, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.



Several different professions and organizations are involved in the sickness absence process, among others health care and the Social Insurance Agency (SIA). It has previously been found that encounters with these organizations can be of great importance for return to work, either as a promoting or a hindering factor. The aim in this study was to investigate how long-term sickness absentee’s encounters with health care and SIA staff influence return to work. As several changes and interventions concerning sickness absence have taken place in Sweden in the last decade, another aim was to study possible changes in such experiences since 2004.


Data from two cross-sectional studies were analyzed. In 2013 a questionnaire was sent to a random sample that had an ongoing sick-leave spell that had lasted between four and eight months, 9558 responded (response rate 52%). Register data concerning the sick leave and demographic factors were also added. Data from 2013 was compared to similar data from 2004 where a similar questionnaire was sent to a random sample of those with a sick-leave spell that had lasted between six and eight months (N=5800). The questionnaires included detailed questions about positive and negative encounters with healthcare and SIA staff, and questions regarding if the encounters had promoted or hindered return to work. Descriptive statistics were calculated.


In 2013, 88% and 95% of the individuals responded that they had had positive encounters with the SIA and health care, respectively. A majority, (55%) answered that positive encounters from health care had promoted return to work; the corresponding number for the SIA was 40%. Negative encounters from health care were by 11% said to have hindered return to work, the corresponding number for the SIA was 9%. When comparing the results with the data from 2004, particularly the promoting effect of positive encounters was found to be higher in 2013.


The results from these two cross-sectional studies suggest that most individuals on long-term sick leave have experienced positive encounters from both health care and the SIA. Positive encounters, particularly from health care, was experienced as promoting return to work, negative encounters was to a lesser extent perceived to have hindered return to work.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
12:45 - 13:45 Poster Viewing
Session: Social issues