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Predicting long-term sickness absence among employees with frequent sickness absence

Predicting long-term sickness absence among employees with frequent sickness absence

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 92(4): 501-511

Frequent absentees are at risk of long-term sickness absence (SA). The aim of the study is to develop prediction models for long-term SA among frequent absentees. Data were obtained from 53,833 workers who participated in occupational health surveys in the period 2010-2013; 4204 of them were frequent absentees (i.e., employees with ≥ 3 SA spells in the year prior to the survey). The survey data of the frequent absentees were used to develop two prediction models: model 1 including job demands and job resources and model 2 including burnout and work engagement. Discrimination between frequent absentees with and without long-term SA during follow-up was assessed with the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC); (AUC) ≥ 0.75 was considered useful for practice. A total of 3563 employees had complete data for analyses and 685 (19%) of them had long-term SA during 1-year follow-up. The final model 1 included age, gender, education, marital status, prior long-term SA, work pace, role clarity and learning opportunities. Discrimination between frequent absentees with and without long-term SA was significant (AUC 0.623; 95% CI 0.601-0.646), but not useful for practice. Model 2 showed comparable discrimination (AUC 0.624; 95% CI 0.596-0.651) with age, gender, education, marital status, prior long-term SA, burnout and work engagement as predictor variables. Differentiating by gender or sickness absence cause did not result in better discrimination. Both prediction models discriminated significantly between frequent absentees with and without long-term SA during 1-year follow-up, but have to be further developed for use in healthcare practice.

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Accession: 065884748

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PMID: 30474733

DOI: 10.1007/s00420-018-1384-6

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