DÉCEMBRE 2017

Trajectories of Return to Work Among People on Sick Leave with Mood or Anxiety Disorders: Secondary Analysis from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Purpose The return to work (RTW) of people with mood and anxiety disorders is a heterogeneous process. We aimed to identify prototypical trajectories of RTW over a two-year period in people on sick leave with mood and anxiety disorders, and investigate if socio-demographic or clinical factors predicted trajectory membership. Methods We used data from the randomized IPS-MA trial (n = 283), evaluating a supported employment intervention for participants with recently diagnosed mood or anxiety disorders. Information on "weeks in employment in the past 6 months" was measured after 1/2, 1, 1 ½ and 2 years, using data from a nationwide Danish register (DREAM). Latent growth mixture modelling analysis was carried out to identify trajectories of RTW and logistic regression analyses were used to estimate predictors for trajectory membership. Results Four trajectory classes of RTW were identified; non-RTW [70% (196/283)] (practically no return to work); delayed-RTW [19% (56/283)] (6 months delay before full RTW); rapid-unstable-RTW [7% (19/283)] (members rapidly returned to work, but only worked half the time); and the smallest class, rapid-RTW [4% (12/283)] (members rapidly reached full employment, but later experienced a decrease in weeks of employment). Self-reported disability score according to the SDS, not living with a partner, and readiness to change on the CQ scale were found to be significantly associated with RTW. Conclusions The trajectories identified support that many do not benefit from vocational rehabilitation, or experience difficulties sustaining employment; enhanced support of this patient group is still warranted.

Source: Hellström L, Madsen T, Nordentoft M, Bech P, Eplov LF, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2017 Dec. 

Prognostic factors for return to work after depression-related work disability: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Purpose Knowledge about factors influencing return to work (RTW) after depression-related absence is highly relevant, but the evidence is scattered. Methods We performed a systematic search of PubMed and Embase databases up to February 1, 2016 to retrieve cohort studies on the association between various predictive factors and return to work among employees with depression for review and meta-analysis. We also analyzed unpublished data from the Finnish Public Sector study. Most-adjusted estimates were pooled using fixed effects meta-analysis. Results Eleven published studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria, representing 22 358 person-observations from five different countries. With the additional unpublished data from the 14 101 person-observations from the Finnish Public Sector study, the total number of person-observations was 36 459. The pooled estimates were derived from 2 to 5 studies, with the number of observations ranging from 260 to 26 348. Older age (pooled relative risk [RR] 0.95; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.84–0.87), somatic comorbidity (RR = 0.80, 95% CI 0.77–0.83), psychiatric comorbidity (RR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.83–0.88) and more severe depression (RR = 0.96, 95% CI 0.94–0.98) were associated with a lower rate of return to work, and personality trait conscientiousness with higher (RR = 1.06, 95% CI 1.02–1.10) return to work. While older age and clinical factors predicted slower return, significant heterogeneity was observed between the studies. Conclusions There is a dearth of observational studies on the predictors of RTW after depression. Future research should pay attention to quality aspects and particularly focus on the role of workplace and labor market factors as well as individual and clinical characteristics on RTW.

Source: Ervasti J, Joensuu M, Pentti J, Oksanen T, Ahola K, Vahtera J, Kivimäki M, Virtanen M, Journal of Psychiatric Research, Vol. 95, p.28-36, 2017 Dec.

Work-anxiety-coping intervention improves work-coping perception while a recreational intervention leads to deterioration: Results from a randomized controlled trial

Purpose Work-anxieties are costly and need early intervention. The perception of being able to cope with work is a basic requirement for work ability. This randomized controlled trial investigates whether a cognitive behavioural, work-anxiety-coping group (WAG) intervention leads to better work-coping perception than an unspecific recreational group (RG). Methods Heterogeneous people in medical rehabilitation, who were due to return to work, were interviewed concerning their work-anxieties, and either randomly assigned to a WAG (n = 85) or a RG (n = 95). Results The participants (with an average of 50 years old [range 23–64]; 51% women; 70% workers or employees, 25% academics, 5% unskilled) followed the group intervention for four or six sessions. The perceived work-coping was assessed by self-rating (Inventory for Job-Coping and Return Intention JoCoRi) after each group session. Although participants had a slight temporary decrease in work-coping after group session two (from M1=2.47 to M2=2.28, dCohen=−.22), the WAG led to the improvement of perceived work-coping over the intervention course (from M1 = 2.47 toM6 = 2.65,dCohen = .18). In contrast, participants from the RG reported lower work-coping after six group sessions (from M2=2.26 to M6=2.02, dCohen=−.18). Conclusions It is considered that people with work-anxieties need training in work-coping. By focusing on recreation only, this may lead to deterioration of work-coping. Indeed, intervention designers should be aware of temporary deterioration (side effects) when confronting participants with work-coping.

Source: Muschalla B, European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology, Vol. 26 (6), p.858-869, 2017 Dec.

Minor long-term effects 3-4 years after the ReDO™ intervention for women with stress-related disorders: A focus on sick leave rate, everyday occupations and well-being

Purpose The Redesigning Daily Occupations (ReDO™) work rehabilitation method has been found effective, compared with care as usual (CAU), for women with stress-related disorders. Objective To conduct a long-term follow-up of former ReDO™ and CAU participants with respect to sick leave, well-being and everyday occupations 3-4 years after completed work rehabilitation. Methods Forty-two women in each group participated. An index day was decided to estimate sick-leave rate, retrieved from register data. Fifty-five women also participated in a telephone interview addressing well-being, everyday occupations and life events. Results Both groups had reduced their sick-leave rate further, but no difference between the groups was established. The ReDO™ women perceived a better balance in the work domain of everyday occupations, whereas the CAU group reported more over-occupation. No differences were found on well-being. The groups had experienced similar important life events, affecting the women's work and private lives. Previous stress and anxiety predicted sick leave at the long-term follow-up. Conclusions Although theReDO™ intervention had speeded up return towork in the immediate follow-up perspective, the CAU had caught up in the longer term. Still, the ReDO™ women exhibited better balance in the work domain.

Source: Eklund M, Work, Vol. 58(4), p.527-536, 2017 Dec.

Work Characteristics and Return to Work in Long-Term Sick-Listed Employees with Depressive Symptoms

Purpose The present study investigated the relations between work characteristics, depressive symptoms and duration until full return to work (RTW) among long-term sick-listed employees. This knowledge may add to the development of effective interventions and prevention, especially since work characteristics can be subjected to interventions more easily than many disorder-related or personal factors. Methods This prospective cohort study with a two-year follow-up employs a sample of 883 Dutch employees who had been sick-listed for at least 13 weeks at baseline, who filled out three questionnaires: at 19 weeks, 1 and 2 years after the start of sick leave. The dependent measure was duration until full RTW. Results not working (partially) at baseline, low decision authority, high psychological demands, low supervisor support and low RTW self-efficacy were related to more depressive symptoms. The duration until full RTW was longer for employees with depressive symptoms. Low physical exertion, high RTW self-efficacy, working partially at baseline, being married or cohabiting, and young age were related to less time until full RTW. Other work characteristics appeared no independent predictors of RTW. Conclusions although the role of job demands and job resources in the RTW process is limited for long-term sick-listed employees with depressive symptoms, a few work characteristics are prognostic factors of full RTW. Focus on these elements in the selection or development of interventions may be helpful in preventing sickness absence, and in supporting long-term sick-listed employees towards full RTW.

Source: Huijs J, Koppes L, Taris T, Blonk R, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, Vol. 27(4), p.612-622, 2017 Dec.

Predictors of Return to Work 6 Months After the End of Treatment in Patients with Common Mental Disorders: A Cohort Study

Purpose Common mental disorders (CMDs) account for a large portion of sickness absence. Even after attending return to work (RTW) interventions, many patients with a CMD remain on sick leave. To identify people at risk of long-term work disability, more needs to be known about factors that predict RTW after treatment. Methods This was a prospective cohort study that followed 106 former patients at an RTW outpatient clinic for CMDs for 6 months after the end of treatment. Changes in work participation and mental health status between the end of treatment and the 6-month follow-up were analysed. Changes in work participation were used to identify patients with successful RTW. Patient characteristics and end-of-treatment measures of mental health status, work ability, generalized self-efficacy and expectations of future work ability, and changes in clinical outcome measures during treatment were included in logistic regression analyses to identify predictors of RTW at the 6-month follow-up. Results In the final model, high occupational status and higher work ability at the end of treatment predicted successful RTW at the 6-month follow-up. Further analyses showed that if the expectancy of future work ability improved or remained positive from before to the end of treatment, this was also strongly associated with RTW at the 6-month follow-up. Conclusions Among patients treated for CMDs, those with a low occupational status and who report lower work ability at the end of treatment are at risk of long-term disability.

Source: Victor M, Lau B, Ruud T, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2017 Dec.

Work Participation among Employees with Common Mental Disorders: A Meta-synthesis

Purpose The aim was to aggregate knowledge about the opportunities, challenges and need for support employees with common mental disorders experience in relation to work participation in order to develop recommendations for practice. Methods A meta-synthesis was conducted using a meta-aggregative approach to accurately and reliably present findings that could be used to meet our aim. Qualitative inductive content analysis was used to analyze and synthesize the findings. Results In all, 252 findings were extracted from 16 papers, and six categories were generated and aggregated into two synthesized findings. One synthesized finding indicates that a strong work identity and negative perceptions regarding mental disorders can impede work participation, creating an essential need for a supportive work environment. The other reveals that the diffuse nature of the symptoms of mental disorders causes instability in life and loss of control, but through the use of internal motivation and external support, employees may be able to regain control of their lives. However, external support is hampered by insufficient cooperation and coordination between vocational stakeholders. Conclusions Based on the synthesized findings, we recommended that the employer is involved in the rehabilitation process, and that rehabilitation professionals seek to strengthen the employee's ability to manage work-related stress. In addition, rehabilitation professionals should provide individualized and active support and ensure meaningful cooperation across the multidisciplinary disciplines involved in the rehabilitation process.

Source: Thisted CN, Nielsen CV, Bjerrum M, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2017 Dec.

NOVEMBRE 2017

Strategies to keep working among workers with common mental disorders - a grounded theory study

Purpose Most people with common mental disorders (CMDs) are employed and working, but few studies have looked into how they manage their jobs while ill. This study explores workers' experiences of strategies to keep working while suffering from CMDs. Methods In this grounded theory study, we interviewed 19 women and eight men with depression or anxiety disorders. They were 19-65 years old and had different occupations. Constant comparison method was used in the analysis. Results We identified a core pattern in the depressed and anxious workers' attempts to sustain their capacities, defined as Managing work space. The core pattern comprised four categories describing different cognitive, behavioral, and social strategies. The categories relate to a process of sustainability. Two categories reflected more reactive and temporary strategies, occurring mainly in the onset phase of illness: Forcing the work role and Warding off work strain. The third category, Recuperating from work, reflected strategies during both onset and recovery phases. The fourth category, Reflexive adaptation, was present mainly in the recovery phase and involved reflective strategies interpreted as more sustainable over time. Conclusions The results can deepen understanding among rehabilitation professionals about different work-related strategies in depressed and anxious workers. Increased awareness of the meaning and characteristics of strategies can inform a person-oriented approach in rehabilitation. The knowledge can be used in clinical encounters to reflect together with the patient, exploring present options and introducing modifications to their particular work and life context. Implications for rehabilitation Self-managed work functioning in common mental disorders involves diverse strategies. Strategies interpreted as sustainable over time, seem to be reflective in the sense that the worker consciously applies and adapts the strategies. However, at the onset of illness, such reflection is difficult to develop as the worker might not want to realize their reduced functioning. Rehabilitation professionals' awareness of different strategies can facilitate a person-centered approach and understanding of the vocational rehabilitation process.

Source: Danielsson L, Elf M, Hensing G, Disability and Rehabilitation, p. 1-10, 2017 Nov. 

Insurers' Influences on Attending Physicians of Workers Sick-listed for Common Mental Disorders: What Are the Impacts on Physicians' Practices? 

Purpose In many jurisdictions, general practitioners (GPs) play an important role in the sick-leave and return-to-work (RTW) process of individuals with common mental disorders (CMD). Since it is insurers that decide on workers' eligibility for disability benefits, they can influence physicians' ability to act. The nature of these influences remains little documented to date. The aim of this study was therefore to describe these influences and their impacts from the GPs' perspective. Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with GPs having a diversified clientele (n = 13). The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed according to thematic analysis principles. Results The results indicated that the GPs recognized insurers as influencing their practices with patients on sick leave for CMDs. The documented influences were generally seen as constraints, but sometimes as enablers. The impacts of these influences on the GPs' practices depended on the organizational characteristics of their work context (such as limited consultation time) and other characteristics of their practice setting (such as lack of timely access to consultations with specialists). Conclusions The results brought three major issues to light: the quality of the information sent to insurers by GPs, the respect shown (or not) for workers' care preferences, and the relevance of the specialized services offered to support workers' RTW. These issues in turn reveal potential risks for workers, risks that need to be identified and recognized by all parties concerned if we are to come up with possible solutions.

Source: Sylvain C, Durand MJ, Maillette P, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2017 Nov.

OCTOBRE 2017

Longer Nature-Based Rehabilitation May Contribute to a Faster Return to Work in Patients with Reactions to Severe Stress and/or Depression

Purpose The global burden of depression and stress-related mental disorders is substantial, and constitutes a major need for effective rehabilitation. Can nature-based rehabilitation help people return to work? Objective To study if the length of a nature-based rehabilitation program affects the outcome with regard to return to work one year after the onset of the program, in a group of patients with long-term reactions to severe stress and/or depression. Methods A prospective, quasi-experimental study comparing results from 8-, 12-, and 24-week periods of rehabilitation. The rehabilitation of 106 participants was carried out by a multimodal rehabilitation team in a specially designed rehabilitation garden. Return to work data were collected before the intervention and one year after the start of rehabilitation. In addition, data were collected regarding self-assessed occupational competence, personal control, and sense of coherence. Results As many as 68% of the participants returned to work or participated in job training or work-oriented measures, full- or part-time, after one year. Participants with a longer period of rehabilitation reported better results on occupational competence, and were more likely to participate in paid work, full-time or part-time, one year after rehabilitation. Conclusions Study outcomes indicate that a longer rehabilitation period in a rehabilitation garden increases the possibility of a return to paid work.

Source: Grahn P, Pálsdóttir AM, Ottosson J, Jonsdottir IH, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 14 (11), 2017 Oct.

Determinants of Sickness Absence and Return to Work Among Employees with Common Mental Disorders: A Scoping Review

Purpose To present an overview of the existing evidence on prognostic factors of (recurrent) sickness absence (SA) and return to work (RTW) among workers with a common mental disorder (CMD). This scoping review provides information about determinants for SA and RTW, which could be used to develop better interventions aimed at the prevention of SA and promotion of RTW among workers with a CMD. Methods Relevant articles were identified in PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, PSYNDEX, and SINGLE up to October 2016. In order to be included, studies should provide insight into prognostic factors of SA or RTW of workers with a CMD. We classified all factors according to the domains of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Results Our searches identified 2447 possible relevant articles, of which 71 were included for data extraction. There is consistent evidence in ≥3 studies that previous episodes of CMD, higher symptom severity, previous absenteeism, co-morbidity, high job demands, low job control, high job strain, female gender, lower educational level, smoking behavior, and low perceived general health are predictors of SA in people with CMDs. Earlier RTW is consistently predicted by lower symptom severity, having no previous absenteeism, younger age, and positive expectations concerning sick-leave duration or RTW. Conclusions The amount of research on determinants for SA and RTW in workers with CMD has increased dramatically in recent years, although most studies are from the Netherlands and Scandinavia. There are some research gaps identified in this scoping review that need further attention in primary and secondary studies. Based on the summary of the evidence, we provide guidance for policy, practice and research.

Source: de Vries H, Fishta A, Weikert B, Rodriguez Sanchez A, Wegewitz U, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 2017 Oct.

Prognostic factors for return to work of employees with common mental disorders: a meta-analysis of cohort studies

Purpose To examine prognostic factors for return to work (RTW) of employees with common mental disorders (CMDs). Methods A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed using data from 18 published cohort studies with 24,579 participants. The studies were identified from MEDLINE/PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE, SocINDEX, and Human resource management databases from 1995 to 2016. Two authors independently screened selected studies and assessed the quality of the studies as well as the extracted data. Results We screened 7755 abstracts, from which 211 full text articles were reviewed. Eighteen cohort studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. Significant prognostic factors for RTW included age, contact with medical specialists, RTW-self-efficacy, and work ability. The pooled hazard ratios and 95% confidence interval (CI) for age, RTW-SE, contact with medical specialists, and high work ability/low work demands in relation to RTW were 0.77 (95% CI 0.65-0.88), 1.79 (95% CI 1.24-2.33), 0.64 (95% CI 0.49-0.80) and 1.08 (95% CI 1.06-1.11), respectively. Conclusions Self-efficacy (SE) is a key factor in the enhancement of work ability and RTW. Improving employee's SE and collaborating with employers to enhance work ability may help to facilitate RTW. As the RTW process is complex, exploring theoretical frameworks for RTW in individuals with a CMD is also needed.

Source: Nigatu Y, Liu Y, Uppal M, McKinney S, Gillis K, Rao S, Wang JianLi, Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, Vol. 52 (10), p.1205-1215, 2017 Oct.

SEPTEMBRE 2017

Effects of internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy and physical exercise on sick leave and employment in primary care patients with depression: two subgroup analyses

Purpose Depression can negatively impact work capacity, but treatment effects on sick leave and employment are unclear. This study evaluates if internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) or physical exercise (PE), with already reported positive effects on clinical outcome and short-term work ability, has better effects on employment, sick leave and long-term work ability compared with treatment as usual (TAU) for depressed primary care patients (German clinical trials: DRKS00008745). Methods After randomisation and exclusion of patients not relevant for work-related analysis, patients were divided into two subgroups: initially unemployed (total n=118) evaluated on employment, and employed (total n=703) evaluated on long-term sick leave. Secondary outcomes were self-rated work ability and average number of sick days per month evaluated for both subgroups. Assessments (self-reports) were made at baseline and follow-up at 3 and 12 months. Results For the initially unemployed subgroup, 52.6% were employed after 1 year (response rate 82%). Both PE (risk ratio (RR)=0.44; 95% CI 0.23 to 0.87) and ICBT (RR=0.37; 95% CI 0.16 to 0.84) showed lower rates compared with TAU after 3 months, but no difference was found after 1 year (PE: RR=0.97; 95% CI 0.69 to 1.57; ICBT: RR=1.23; 95% CI 0.72 to 2.13). For those with initial employment, long-term sick leave (response rate 75%) decreased from 7.8% to 6.5%, but neither PE (RR=1.4; 95% CI 0.52 to 3.74) nor ICBT (RR=0.99; 95% CI 0.39 to 2.46) decreased more than TAU, although a temporary positive effect for PE was found. All groups increased self-rated work ability with no differences found. Conclusions No long-term effects were found for the initially unemployed on employment status or for the initially employed on sick leave. New types of interventions need to be explored.

Source: Kaldo V, Lundin A, Hallgren M, Kraepelien M, Strid C, Ekblom Ö, Lavebratt C, Lindefors N, Öjehagen A, Forsell Y, Occupational And Environmental Medicine, 2017 Sep. 

Depressive, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders at six years after occupational injuries 

Purpose The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence rates of depressive, anxiety and PTSDs, and the risk factors for psychological symptoms at 6 years after occupational injury. Methods This longitudinal study followed workers who were occupationally injured in 2009. Psychological symptoms and return to work were assessed at 3 and 12 months after injury. Injured workers who had completed the initial questionnaire survey at 3 or 12 months after injury were recruited. A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to the participants. For workers with high Brief Symptom Rating Scale and Post-traumatic Symptom Checklist scores, an in-depth psychiatric evaluation was performed using the Mini-international Neuropsychiatric Interview. Results A total of 570 workers completed the questionnaire (response rate, 28.7%). Among them, 243 (42.6%) had high psychological symptom scores and were invited for a phone interview; 135 (55.6%) completed the interview. The estimated rates of major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)/partial PTSD were 9.2 and 7.2%, respectively, and both these rates were higher at 6 years after injury than at 12 months after injury (2.0 and 5.1%). After adjustment for family and social factors, the risk factors for high psychological scores were length of hospitalization immediately after injury, affected physical appearance, repeated occupational injuries, unemployment, and number of quit jobs after the injury. At 6 years after occupational injury, the re-emergence of psychiatric disorders was observed. Relevant factors for poor psychological health were severity of injury and instability of work. Periodic monitoring of psychological and physical health and economic stability are warranted.

Source: Chin WS, Shiao J, Liao SC, Kuo CY, Chen CC, Guo Y, European Archives of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience, Vol. 267 (6), p.507-516, 2017 Sep.

The role of empowerment and quality of life in depression severity among unemployed people with affective disorders receiving mental healthcare

Purpose Sick leave and unemployment are highly prevalent among people with affective disorders. Their depression severity is disabling and inversely related to having employment. No evidence-based vocational rehabilitation exists for this target group. Knowledge is therefore needed to understand the psychosocial factors that affect depression severity in order to develop new rehabilitation interventions. This study examined relationships between depression severity and empowerment, working life aspirations, occupational engagement, and quality of life in unemployed people with affective disorders receiving mental healthcare. Methods In this cross-sectional study of 61 participants, instruments on psychosocial factors and questionsn descriptive sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were administered. Descriptive, correlation, and regression statistics were applied. Results Correlation and regression analyses showed significant inverse relations between depression severity and empowerment and quality of life. The odds for more severe depression decreased with higher empowerment and quality of life. However, neither extent of engagement in daily life nor working life aspiration was related to depression severity. Conclusions An empowerment approach and strategies, which support the quality of life, are needed in development of vocational rehabilitation interventions, and bridging of mental healthcare and vocational services. Implications for Rehabilitation Enhancing empowerment and quality life in the return to work process can decrease depression severity in unemployed people with affective disorder. There is a need to address work issues in addition to symptom reduction in primary and mental healthcare. Bridging the service and time gap between vocational rehabilitation and healthcare is recommended for mitigating long-term unemployment for people with affective disorders who want to work.

Source: Johanson S, Bejerholm U, Disability & Rehabilitation, Vol. 39(18), p.1807-1813, 2017 Sep.

AOÛT 2017

How do line managers experience and handle the return to work of employees on sick leave due to work-related stress? A one-year follow-up study

Purpose To examine how line managers experience and manage the return to work process of employees on sick leave due to work-related stress and to identify supportive and inhibiting factors. Methods Semi-structured interviews with 15 line managers who have had employees on sick leave due to work-related stress. The grounded theory approach was employed. Results Even though managers may accept the overall concept of work-related stress, they focus on personality and individual circumstances when an employee is sick-listed due to work-related stress. The lack of a common understanding of stress creates room for this focus. Line managers experience cross-pressure, discrepancies between strategic and human-relationship perspectives and a lack of organizational support in the return to work process. Conclusions Organizations should aim to provide support for line managers. Research-based knowledge and guidelines on work-related stress and return to work process are essential, as is the involvement of coworkers. A commonly accepted definition of stress and a systematic risk assessment is also important. Cross-pressure on line managers should be minimized and room for adequate preventive actions should be provided as such an approach could support both the return to work process and the implementation of important interventions in the work environment. Implication for rehabilitation Organizations should aim to provide support for line managers handling the return to work process. Cross-pressure on line managers should be minimized and adequate preventive actions should be provided in relation to the return to work process. Research-based knowledge and guidelines on work-related stress and return to work are essential. A common and formal definition of stress should be emphasized in the workplace.

Source: Ladegaard Y, Skakon J, Elrond AF, Netterstrøm B, Disability and Rehabilitation, p. 1-9, 2017 Aug.

JUILLET 2017

Cognitive-behavioural therapy and return-to-work intervention for patients on sick leave due to common mental disorders: a randomised controlled trial

Purpose Common mental disorders (CMDs) cause great individual suffering and long-term sick leave. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) effectively treats CMDs, but sick leave is not reduced to the same extent as psychiatric symptoms. Research results regarding return-to-work interventions (RTW-Is) and their effect on sick leave are inconclusive. The aim of this study was to evaluate CBT, a RTW-I and combined CBT and RTW-I (COMBO) for primary care patients on sick leave due to CMDs. Methods Patients with CMDs (n=211) were randomised to CBT (n=64), RTW-I (n=67) or COMBO (n=80). Sick-leave registry data after 1 year and blinded Clinician's Severity Rating (CSR) of symptoms post-treatment and at follow-ups after 6 and 12 months were primary outcomes. Results There was no significant difference between treatments in days on sick leave 1 year after treatment start (mean difference in sick-leave days range=9-27). CBT led to larger reduction of symptoms post-treatment (CSR; Cohen's d=0.4 (95% CI 0.1 to 0.8)) than RTW-I, whereas COMBO did not differ from CBT or RTW-I. At follow-up, after 1 year, there was no difference between groups. All treatments were associated with large pre-treatment to post-treatment improvements, and results were maintained at 1-year follow-up. Conclusions No treatment was superior to the other regarding reducing sick leave. All treatments effectively reduced symptoms, CBT in a faster pace than RTW-I, but at 1-year follow-up, all groups had similar symptom levels. Further research is needed regarding how CBT and RTW-I can be combined more efficiently to produce a larger effect on sick leave while maintaining effective symptom reduction.

Source: Salomonsson S, Santoft F, Lindsäter E, Ejeby K, Ljótsson B, Öst LG, Ingvar M, Lekander M, Hedman-Lagerlöf E, Occupational And Environmental Medicine, 2017 Jul. 

Predictors of return to work among patients in treatment for common mental disorders: a pre-post study

Purpose Effects of return to work (RTW) interventions vary, and more knowledge is needed about the factors that contribute to RTW. This study investigated changes in work participation and mental health, and predictors of RTW among patients being treated for common mental disorders (CMDs). Methods The study was a prospective pre-post study of 164 patients treated at an RTW outpatient clinic for CMDs. Differences between before and after treatment were analysed using paired t tests for continuous variables and marginal homogeneity test for categorical variables. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with RTW. Baseline data (patient characteristics, clinical status, generalized self-efficacy, expectations of future work ability) and treatment variables were used as independent variables in logistic regressions. Further analysis investigated whether improvements in symptoms, work ability, expectations of future work ability and generalized self-efficacy were associated with RTW. Results Number of individuals with full work participation increased, and there were improvements in symptoms, work ability and generalized self-efficacy. In the final model for predicting RTW, baseline work ability and expectancy of future work ability, a history of psychiatric treatment and focus on RTW in the treatment predicted RTW. Improvement in expectations of future work ability at post-treatment did also predict RTW. Conclusions Assessing work ability and expectations of RTW at the beginning of treatment is recommended to identify patients at risk of long-term sick leave. Individuals with a history of psychiatric treatment are also risking long-term work disability. It is essential that treatment focus not only on symptom-relief, but also on improving work ability and expectations of RTW. An RTW-focused approach in therapy is associated with RTW.

Source: Victor M, Lau B, Ruud T, BMC Public Health, Vol. 17, 1-11, 2017 July.