Prediction of sickness absenteeism, disability pension and sickness presenteeism among employees with back pain

J Occup Rehabil. 2014 Jun;24(2):278-86. doi: 10.1007/s10926-013-9454-9.


Purpose: The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the predictive ability of the Örebro Musculoskeletal Pain Screening Questionnaire (ÖMPSQ) concerning long-term sick leave, sickness presenteeism and disability pension during a follow-up period of 2 years.

Methods: The study group consisted of 195 employees visiting the occupational health service (OHS) due to back pain.

Results: Using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves, the area under the curve (AUC) varied from 0.67 to 0.93, which was from less accurate for sickness presenteeism to highly accurate for the prediction of disability pension. For registered sick leave during 6 months following the baseline the AUC from the ROC analyses was moderately accurate (0.81) and a cut off score of 90 rendered a high sensitivity of 0.89 but a low specificity of 0.46 whereas a cut off score of 105 improves the specificity substantially but at the cost of some sensitivity. The predictive ability appears to decrease with time. Several workplace factors beyond those included in the ÖMPSQ were considered but only social support at the workplace was significantly related to future long-term sick leave besides the total score of the ÖMPSQ.

Conclusions: The results of this study extend and confirm the findings of earlier research on the ÖMPSQ. Assessment of psychosocial risk factors among employees seeking help for back pain at the OHS could be helpful in the prevention of work disabling problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Back Pain* / psychology
  • Back Pain* / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illness Behavior
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Risk Factors
  • Sick Leave*
  • Social Security*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Sweden
  • Work / psychology*
  • Workplace