Predictors of health related job loss: a two-year follow-up study in a general working population

J Occup Rehabil. 2007 Dec;17(4):581-92. doi: 10.1007/s10926-007-9106-z. Epub 2007 Oct 24.


Introduction: Job loss may be attributed to a number of causes. The medical profession is often involved in counselling or case work when citizens are excluded from work for health reasons. The aim of this study was to identify predictors of health related job loss (HRJL) in a cohort of Danish employees.

Methods: A total of 39 workplaces with 5,604 employees aged from 18 to 67 years participated. Questionnaires were obtained at baseline and follow up. Participants reported reason for job loss whilst employers' information provided the date. Hazard Ratios (HR) for HRJL with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were analysed.

Results: 4006 responses were obtained at baseline (71.5%), and 3,276 (81.8%) at follow up. About 567 (17.3%) had lost their job, and 135 (23.8%) reported HRJL. 51.5% of HRJL was related to pain, disease, or discomfort in the neck, the back, arms, or legs, and another 23% to stress or stress related symptoms. HRJL involved low reemployment rate compared to non-HRJL. After multiple mutual adjustments, HRJL among females was associated with reports of a work compensation claim within the year previous to baseline (HR 3.0; 95% CI 1.6-5.1), high level of health anxiety (3.7; 2.1-6.6), one or more contacts to the general practitioner in the year previous to baseline (2.2;1.4-3.6), and reported poor leadership quality at work (1.8;1.2-2.9). Among males, HRJL was associated with high levels of health anxiety (2.5; 1.0-6.2) and repetitive work (2.7; 1.4-5.4).

Conclusion: About 4% of employees experienced HRJL, which was associated with care seeking and high levels of health anxiety. Further studies of gender differences in HRJL are warranted.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / complications*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / complications*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Health*
  • Pain / complications*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Psychological Tests
  • Psychometrics
  • Retirement
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Unemployment*
  • Workplace