Screening questionnaire Balansmeter proved successful in predicting future long-term sickness absence in office workers

J Clin Epidemiol. 2009 Apr;62(4):408-414.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.07.003. Epub 2008 Nov 4.


Objective: To develop and validate a screening instrument to identify employees at high risk for future long-term sickness absence.

Study design and setting: The instrument was developed (n=5,601) and internally validated (n=3,383) through data analyses of the Maastricht Cohort Study, among a group of office workers not absent from work. External validation was performed in a cohort of 3,895 bank employees.

Results: The screening instrument, Balansmeter, captures 34 questions on demographics, work environment, private situation, (mental) health, and sickness absence history. The Balansmeter showed good predictive values for future sickness absence (>28 days) in men (internal validation relative risk [RR] 4.69 [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.74, 8.02]; external validation RR 3.90 [95% CI: 2.35, 6.45]) and women (internal validation RR 4.16 [95% CI: 2.05, 8.43]; external validation RR 2.62 [95% CI: 1.44, 4.77]).

Conclusion: It is possible to predict future sickness absence. The Balansmeter can be considered a valuable screening instrument.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fatigue / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Sick Leave / trends*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*