Do psychosocial work environment factors measured with scales from the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire predict register-based sickness absence of 3 weeks or more in Denmark?

  • Rugulies R
  • Aust B
  • Pejtersen J
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Abstract

Aims: To analyse the predictive validity of 18 psychosocial work environment scales from the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire version II (COPSOQ II) with regard to risk of sickness absence. Methods: The study population consisted of 3188 wage earners (52% women) from a representative sample of Danish residents. Participants received the long version of the COPSOQ II in autumn and winter 2004—2005, including 18 psychosocial work environment scales from the domains ‘‘Demands at work’’, ‘‘Work organization and job contents’’, and ‘‘Interpersonal relations and leadership’’. The study endpoint was register-based sickness absence of 3 weeks or more in the 1-year period following completion of the COPSOQ II. Associations between COPSOQ scales at baseline and sickness absence at follow-up were analysed with Cox proportional hazards models, adjusted for age, gender, prevalence of a health problem at baseline, and occupational grade. Results: Sickness absence during follow-up was predicted by a one standard deviation increase on the scales of cognitive demands (hazard ratio (HR) 1.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00—1.37), emotional demands (HR 1.28, 95% CI 1.10—1.50), and role conflicts (HR 1.32, 95% CI 1.15—1.52). After applying adjustment for multiple testing, the effect of emotional demands and of role conflict remained statistically significant, but not the effect of cognitive demands. Conclusions: Selected psychosocial work environment factors from the COPSOQ predict register-based sickness absence in the Danish workforce.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Absenteeism
  • Emotional demands
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Occupational health
  • Prospective studies
  • Psychological
  • Questionnaires
  • Role conflicts
  • Sickness absence
  • Stress
  • Workplace

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