clausen t., nielsen k., carneiro i.g. & borg v. (2012) Job demands, job resources and long-term sickness absence in the Danish eldercare services: a prospective analysis of register-based outcomes. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(1), 127–136.
Aim. To investigate associations between psychosocial job demands, job resources and cases of registered long-term sickness absence among nursing staff in the eldercare services.
Background. Research has shown that psychosocial work environment exposures predict sickness absence in healthcare settings. However, only few studies have longitudinally investigated associations between specific job demands and job resources and risk of long-term sickness absence.
Methods. Questionnaire data were collected in 2004 and 2005 among all employees in the eldercare services in 35 Danish municipalities and were followed in a National register on payment of sickness absence compensation for a 1-year follow-up period (N = 7921). Three psychosocial job demands – emotional demands, quantitative demands and role conflicts – and three job resources – influence, quality of leadership and team climate – were investigated to predict risk of sickness absence for eight or more consecutive weeks in the follow-up period. Data were analysed using Cox proportional hazards model.
Results. A percentage of 6·5 of the respondents were absent for eight or more consecutive weeks during follow-up. The analyses showed that emotional demands, role conflicts, influence, quality of leadership and team climate were significantly associated with risk of long-term sickness absence. In an analysis with mutual adjustment for all job demands and job resources, influence constituted the strongest predictor of long-term sickness absence (negative association).
Conclusions. Job demands and job resources are significantly associated with risk of long-term sickness absence. Interventions aimed at improving the psychosocial work environment may, therefore, contribute towards preventing long-term sickness absence in the eldercare services.