Workplace levels of psychosocial factors as prospective predictors of registered sickness absence

J Occup Environ Med. 2005 Sep;47(9):933-40. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000172864.16001.85.


Objective: We sought to investigate whether workplace levels of psychosocial work environment factors predict individual sickness absence.

Methods: Data were collected in a prospective study in 52 Danish workplaces in three organizations: municipal care, technical services, and a pharmaceutical company. Psychosocial factors were aggregated as workplace means. We used multilevel Poisson regression models with psychosocial factors as predictors and individual level sickness absence from absence registries as outcome.

Results: High workplace levels of decision authority predicted low sickness absence in the technical services (rate ratio = 0.66, 95% confidence interval = 0.51-0.86) and high workplace levels of skill discretion predicted low sickness absence in the pharmaceutical company (rate ratio = 0.74, 95% confidence interval = 0.62-0.88) after control for relevant confounders. Workplaces in municipal care did not differ with respect to the psychosocial factors.

Conclusions: Psychosocial factors at the workplace level may be important predictors of sickness absence.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sick Leave
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Workplace*