BACKGROUND: Meaningfulness of the job, collaboration among colleagues, trustworthiness of the closest superior and bullying have previously been shown to be major covariates of intention to quit the job. AIMS: To test if these elements of the psychosocial work environment are also the most essential covariates of sickness absence. METHODS: A cross-sectional questionnaire study of hospital employees which sought information on elements of the psychosocial work environment, general health status, life style, age, gender and profession. Data on sickness absence were obtained from the employer's salary database. RESULTS: A total of 1809 hospital employees took part with a response rate of 65%. The mean age was 43 (range: 20-69) and 75% were female. Totally, 363 study participants (20%) had at least 14 days sickness absence (defined as high absence) during the preceding year. Associations between high sickness absence and 29 psychosocial work elements were analysed, adjusting for relevant confounders. Following multiple logistic regression analysis, three elements had an independent statistically significant association with high sickness absence: no exposure to bullying (odds ratio (95% confidence interval) 0.50 (0.33-0.77)), high meaningfulness of the job (0.71 (0.52-0.97)) and high trustworthiness of the closest superior (0.70 (0.54-0.92)). CONCLUSIONS: Elements of the psychosocial work environment which have previously been shown to have a significant independent association with intention to quit the job were also the most essential covariates of high sickness absence.
Occupational Medicine, 2014, Vol 64, Issue 7, p. 503-508