Burnout levels and self-rated health prospectively predict future long-term sickness absence: a study among female health professionals

J Occup Environ Med. 2011 Jul;53(7):788-93. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318222b1dc.


Objective: This study investigates the predictive validity of the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI), and of three health indicators (depression, anxiety, and self-rated health), for long-term sickness absence (LTSA).

Methods: Questionnaires were sent to all employees in a Swedish County Council (N = 6118), and the overall response rate was 65% (N = 3976). As 82% were women, only women were included in the study. Certified LTSA data were collected.

Results: Logistic regression analyses showed that high scores on exhaustion, depression, and poor self-rated health increased the risk of future LTSA (≥90 days). Support for the proposed two-factorial structure of the OLBI was found, including the dimensions of exhaustion and disengagement from work.

Conclusion: Using burnout measures might be useful to identify those at risk for LTSA, and to enable preventive solutions in organizations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Fatigue / epidemiology*
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult