Presentation T P43

T P43 (Poster Presentation):
A two year longitudinal follow-up study of long term sick listed people with medically unexplained physical symptoms

Presented by: Kristel Helma Nicole Weerdesteijn


Weerdesteijn KHN1,2, Schaafsma FG1,2, Beek van der AJ1,2, Anema JR1,2

  1. Research Center for Insurance Medicine, The Netherlands
  2. Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO+ Institute, VU University Medical Center, The Netherlands



Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms (MUPS) are physical symptoms for which no adequate somatic explanation can be found. Most of these somatic symptoms are self limiting. Nevertheless 15 percent of the long term absence from work is caused by sick listed people who do not recover and develop persistent MUPS. Persistent MUPS represent a great problem with serious consequences for the functioning and participation of those people and for the economics, health care and society. Therefore it is very important that sick listed people with persistent MUPS get adequate advice in their recovery and return to work process. Due to a lack of knowledge about perpetuating factors and predictors for return to work in long lasting sickness absence there is no evidence which advices and interventions can be effective. Therefore a longitudinal cohort study is needed to establish the prognostic factors for return to work in the long lasting sickness absence more precisely. A follow up study of long term sick listed people with persistent MUPS aims to fill (some of) these gaps in knowledge.


A prognostic cohort study will be conducted with 700 people, who are sick listed for two years and fulfil both criteria of MUPS in this study. These two criteria are at least a score over five points on the Patient Health Questionnaire -15 (PHQ-15), and a diagnosis of the insurance physician that does not explain the somatic complaints. The inclusion period of the participants will take two years. The participants will be asked to answer three questionnaires at different measurement moments. Information about health, coping mechanisms, working situation, and insurance benefits will be collected during this follow up period. These data will be collected from June 2014 till June 2017. We will use multivariable regression analysis to test for associations between return to work and prognostic determinants.


The primary outcome is duration until sustainable return to work. The secondary outcome is the score on the functional ability list given by the insurance physician. The most important prognostic measures are the score on the PHQ-15, comorbidity, coping mechanisms, tiredness and the working situation.


The cohort study will start in 2014 and the first results are expected in 2015.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
12:45 - 13:45 Poster Viewing
Session: Work capacity / ability