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Distribution of subjective health complaints, and their association with register based sickness absence in the Danish working population

Tidsskriftartikel - 2013

Resume

Aims: To describe the distribution of subjective health complaints (SHCs) in a Danish working population and the associations between SHC and register based sickness absence. Methods: The study entailed 2876 men and 3574 women aged 18-59 years that constituted the 2005 panel in the Danish Work Environment Cohort Study (DWECS). All had completed a subjective health complaints inventory and the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ). Seven SHC/NMQ indices were constructed and merged with subsequently collected data on prolonged sickness absence periods (each period > 14 days) that was registered in the national Danish register on social transfer payments: the DREAM register. Ordinal logistic regression was used to model the cumulative odds for sickness absence as a function of strata. Results: The majority of participants reported at least one SHC during a 30-day period (circa 89% of the men and 95% of the women). The reports of severe SHC, defined as recurring SHC within the 30-day period, were less common. About 55% of the men and 68% of the women reported at least one severe SHC during a 30-day period. The odds ratios of sickness absence increased with the number of SHC a participant acknowledged. The odds ratios were slightly reduced after adjusting for age, disease history and social class. Conclusions: The majority of the working population in Denmark report at least one SHC during a 30-day period. Roughly half of the population report having at least one recurrent (often to very often) SHC during the last 30-days (severe SHC). Reporting the presence of several SHCs increases the likelihood of having more prospectively registered periods of sickness absence above two weeks.

Reference

Poulsen OM, Persson SR, Kristiansen J, Andersen LL, Villadsen E, Ørbæk P. Distribution of subjective health complaints, and their association with register based sickness absence in the Danish working population. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 2013;41(2):150-157.
doi: 10.1177/1403494812471909

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