Sick-listing as a psychosocial work problem: a survey of 3997 Swedish physicians

J Occup Rehabil. 2007 Sep;17(3):398-408. doi: 10.1007/s10926-007-9090-3. Epub 2007 Jul 3.


Objectives: To quantify the extent of emotionally straining sick-listing problems among three categories of physicians and find associations with workplace characteristics.

Methods: A questionnaire was answered by 3997 physicians (response rate: 71%).

Results: A larger proportion of physicians at orthopaedic clinics and, in particular, at Primary Health Care Centres (PHCCs), experienced sick-listing problems, compared to physicians at other clinics. Ten percent of PHCC physicians felt threatened by patients, at least once per month, in relation to sickness certification or worried about getting reported to the disciplinary board. PHCC physicians found sick-listing more problematic compared to others (OR 4.9; 95% CI 4.1-6.0). Having a workplace policy on sick-listing was associated with a reduced risk of experiencing several problems (OR 0.5-0.6, P < 0.05).

Conclusion: The extent and nature of sick-listing problems warrant further concerns, especially in PHCCs. The nature of perceived threats should be elucidated. Developing workplace policies on sick-listing should be encouraged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthopedics
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sick Leave
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Sweden
  • Work Capacity Evaluation*