Longitudinal Associations Between Biopsychosocial Factors and Sustainable Return to Work of Sick-Listed Workers with a Depressive or Anxiety Disorder

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Purpose Only a limited number of studies have investigated return to work of sick-listed workers with mental health problems, and more knowledge is needed about the influence of non-disorder-related factors. This study aimed to identify longitudinal associations between demographic, personality, disorder-related and work-related characteristics and sustainable return to work of sick-listed workers with a depressive or anxiety disorder. Methods We used data of a large Dutch cohort study to prospectively study longitudinal associations between biopsychosocial factors and sustainable return to work in 2 years. Associations were studied by means of univariable and multivariable logistic regression analysis. Participants who were sick-listed at baseline and had a lifetime diagnosis of a depressive and/or anxiety disorder were included in this study (N = 215). Results In 2 years, 51.6 % of the participants returned to work sustainably. Age, household income, extraversion, employment status, skill discretion and job security were significantly (P a parts per thousand currency sign 0.05) associated with sustainable RTW in 2 years in the univariable analyses. The multivariable analysis revealed significant associations between sustainable return to work and age (OR per 10 years = 0.67; 95 % CI 0.47-0.95), household income (OR per 100 Euro's a month = 1.04; 95 % CI 1.00-1.08) and being on sickness benefit versus being (self-)employed (OR 0.39; 95 % CI 0.20-0.77). Conclusions In the long-run not disorder-related factors, but an older age, the absence of a job and a low household income seem to complicate return to work. Policy and research should focus on facilitators and barriers for return to work of workers with these characteristics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-79
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Long-term sickness absence
  • Mental health problems
  • Return to work

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