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Factors relevant to a return to work: a multivariate approach
Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2006 (English)In: Work: A journal of Prevention, Assesment and rehabilitation, ISSN 1051-9815, Vol. 26, no 2, 179-190 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper contributes to the understanding of the factors that are significant for returning to work, and identifies factors that might be used early on in a period of sick leave to discern whether people are likely to work again. In the design, the multivariate Partial Least Squares (PLS) of Latent Structures method was used to analyse information from a questionnaire containing socio-demographic items, and information on symptoms, consequences on daily life, expectations and psychosocial factors. Data about the incidence of sickness over a four-year period was included. 121 adults aged 18-64 years on sick leave participated, irrespective of their diagnoses. A reliable prediction of a return to work required the combination of many factors: individual psychosocial instruments are not useful when considered in isolation. The strongest predictive factors for a return to work concern the individuals' expectations, the number of days of sick leave taken in the past, somatic disorders, and a high level of life satisfaction and sense of coherence. Many factors influence the outcome for people on sick leave: PLS analysis demonstrated that a multivariate approach using this method could predict the long-term outcome early on in a period of sick leave.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 26, no 2, 179-190 p.
Keyword [en]
Sick leave, Return to work programs, Employment reentry, Vocational rehabilitation, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Psychosocial factors
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-7511PubMedID: 16477110OAI: diva2:147182
Available from: 2008-01-10 Created: 2008-01-10 Last updated: 2011-08-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sjukskrivnas resurser och hinder för återgång i arbete: viktiga faktorer för tidig bedömning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sjukskrivnas resurser och hinder för återgång i arbete: viktiga faktorer för tidig bedömning
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis was to identify factors that early in a sick leave period could illuminate people’s resources and obstacles for returning to work; factors that could predict need for professional support in the sick leave process leading to a positive outcome for the individual.

This thesis consists of four studies. The studied population was living in a rural part of a northern county in Sweden, and had been on sick leave for 28 days irrespective of diagnosis. The participants have been followed for five years with different investigation methods and subgroups of participants. The thesis was initiated by sending a questionnaire to the participants; the responses were compared to groups of healthy controls. The aim was to find predictors of the likelihood of a return to work that can be identified early in a sick leave period. The main focus was on individual mental resources (Study I). The next phase involved studies of sick leave statistics obtained from the Swedish Social Insurance Office, for the study population two years before and two years after the start of the research project. The material from the sick leave statistics was analysed together with responses from the questionnaire study with Partial Least Square (PLS). This was done to search for connections between the participants and factors of concern for sick leave and returning to work in different subgroups (Study II). In-depth interviews also were conducted to explore what the participants experienced as important in their sick leave process as they progressed back to work, or to long term sick leave or disability pension (Study III). Another study investigated client files in the Swedish Social Insurance Office to describe what information that was possible to find: in terms of medical and vocational rehabilitation including assessments, predictors for the outcome of the sick leave process, and the quality of the information in the files (Study IV).

The findings showed significantly lower life satisfaction and psychosocial resources in the study-group compared to the healthy controls. The PLS analysis showed that it was the impact of multiple factors that influenced the study group, and the PLS analysis could help with early prediction of the outcome. Important factors were: personal belief in an ability to work in the future, number of sick leave days in the past, diagnosis, self-evaluated symptoms, life satisfaction and sense of coherence, length of education and sector of employment, and many different consequences in daily life caused by activity limitations. The interview study confirmed these results and added the following important resources: confirmation and support, structural and contextual factors, and participation in the sick leave process. Ideal-types were crystallized that can be identified in the early phases of the sick leave process. The client file study showed that some information was possible to find but a majority of the wanted information was limited why an improvement on the quality of documentation is suggested to give better basis for the files.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Samhällsmedicin och rehabilitering, 2005. 92 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 979
Sick leave, work re-entry, disability pension, psychosocial factors, lived experiences, human occupations
Research subject
Social Medicine
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-591 (URN)91-7305-929-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-09-23, Aulan, Vårdvetarhuset, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2005-09-20 Created: 2005-09-20 Last updated: 2009-11-13Bibliographically approved

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