Perceived and content-related emotional demands at work and risk of long-term sickness absence in the Danish workforce: A cohort study of 26 410 Danish employees [Epub ahead af print]

Tidsskriftartikel - 2019

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OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine whether high emotional demands at work predict long-term sickness absence (LTSA) in the Danish workforce and whether associations differ by perceived and content-related emotional demands.

METHODS: We included 26 410 individuals from the Work Environment and Health in Denmark Study, a nationwide sample of the Danish workforce. Emotional demands at work were measured with two items: one assessing perceived emotional demands (asking how often respondents were emotionally affected by work) and one assessing content-related emotional demands (frequency of contact with individuals in difficult situations). LTSA was register based and defined as spells of ≥6 weeks. Respondents with LTSA during 2 years before baseline were excluded. Follow-up was 52 weeks. Using Cox regression, we estimated risk of LTSA per one-unit increase in emotional demands rated on a five-point scale.

RESULTS: During 22 466 person-years, we identified 1002 LTSA cases. Both perceived (HR 1.20, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.28) and content-related emotional demands (HR 1.07, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.13) predicted risk of LTSA after adjustment for confounders. Further adjustment for baseline depressive symptoms substantially attenuated associations for perceived (HR 1.08, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.16) but not content-related emotional demands (HR 1.05, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.11). Individuals working in occupations with above-average values of both exposures had an increased risk of LTSA (HR 1.32, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.52) compared with individuals in all other job groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Perceived and content-related emotional demands at work predicted LTSA, also after adjustment for baseline depressive symptoms, supporting the interpretation that high emotional demands may be hazardous to employee's health.

Reference

Framke E, Sørensen JK, Nordentoft M, Johnsen NF, Garde AH, Pedersen J, Madsen IEH, Rugulies R. Perceived and content-related emotional demands at work and risk of long-term sickness absence in the Danish workforce: A cohort study of 26 410 Danish employees [Epub ahead af print]. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2019.
doi: 10.1136/oemed-2019-106015

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