Does workplace social capital protect against long-term sickness absence?

Tidsskriftartikel - 2017


AIMS: Most previous prospective studies have examined workplace social capital as a resource of the individual. However, literature suggests that social capital is a collective good. In the present study we examined whether a high level of workplace aggregated social capital (WASC) predicts a decreased risk of individual-level long-term sickness absence (LTSA) in Danish private sector employees.

METHODS: A sample of 2043 employees (aged 18-64 years, 38.5% women) from 260 Danish private-sector companies filled in a questionnaire on workplace social capital and covariates. WASC was calculated by assigning the company-averaged social capital score to all employees of each company. We derived LTSA, defined as sickness absence of more than three weeks, from a national register. We examined if WASC predicted employee LTSA using multilevel survival analyses, while excluding participants with LTSA in the three months preceding baseline.

RESULTS: We found no statistically significant association in any of the analyses. The hazard ratio for LTSA in the fully adjusted model was 0.93 (95% CI 0.77-1.13) per one standard deviation increase in WASC. When using WASC as a categorical exposure we found a statistically non-significant tendency towards a decreased risk of LTSA in employees with medium WASC (fully adjusted model: HR 0.78 (95% CI 0.48-1.27)). Post hoc analyses with workplace social capital as a resource of the individual showed similar results.

CONCLUSIONS: WASC did not predict LTSA in this sample of Danish private-sector employees.


Hansen AK, Madsen IEH, Thorsen SV, Melkevik O, Bjørner JB, Andersen I, Rugulies R. Does workplace social capital protect against long-term sickness absence?: Linking workplace aggregated social capital to sickness absence registry data . Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 2017;46(3):290-296.
doi: 10.1177/1403494817721672

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