Psychosocial work characteristics and return to work after occupational rehabilitation
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BACKGROUND: Long-term sickness absence is a major health and economic problem in the industrialised world. Factors that might promote return to work are therefore of great interest. Psychosocial work characteristics are known to influence health; it was therefore hypothesised that the work characteristics might also influence return to work. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to examine the impact of psychosocial work characteristics on return to work after occupational rehabilitation. METHODS: The study was design as a deductive cohort study of 251 sick-listed employees in a Norwegian rehabilitation program recruited between November 2011 and July 2012. A Norwegian translation of the Job Content Questionnaire was used to gather information on the psychosocial work conditions. Return to work was measured at two follow-up times, at the end of rehabilitation and three months after. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the association between the demand-control and support dimensions and return to work. RESULTS: After adjustments, skill discretion was associated with return to work at end-of- rehabilitation follow-up. At three-months follow-up, high psychological job demands, low social support and being in a high-strain job were associated with not working. CONCLUSION: The purpose of the study was to give more insight to providers of rehabilitation programs, so there might be more focus on workplace issues predicting return to work in the future. The results revealed that work characteristics had an impact on return to work. Interventions aimed at returning people to work might therefore benefit from including organisational job redesign measures, secure support at the workplace or modification of job demands.
Master's thesis in Health and social sciences