Workplace social capital and risk of long-term sickness absence. Are associations modified by occupational grade?

Reiner Rugulies, Peter Hasle, Jan Hyld Pejtersen, Birgit Aust, Jakob Bue Bjørner

    Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

    20 Citationer (Scopus)


    Background: Workplace social capital (WSC) is an emerging topic among both work environment professionals
    and researchers. We examined (i) whether high WSC protected against risk of long-term sickness absence (LTSA) in
    a random sample of the Danish workforce during a 1-year follow-up and (ii) whether the association of WSC with
    sickness absence was modified by occupational grade. Methods: We measured WSC by self-report in a cohort of
    3075 employees and linked responses to a national register of sickness absence. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs)
    and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of onset of LTSA (21 days), adjusted for covariates. We stratified analyses by
    occupational grade and examined if there was an interaction effect of WSC and occupational grade. Results:
    A one standard deviation higher WSC score predicted a reduced risk of sickness absence after adjustment for
    sociodemographic variables, prevalent health problems and health behaviours (HR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.74–0.99). The
    HR was attenuated and lost statistical significance after further adjustment for occupational grade (HR = 0.90, 95%
    CI = 0.78–1.04). When stratified by occupational grade, high WSC predicted a decreased risk of sickness absence
    among higher grade workers (HR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.44–0.84) but not among lower grade workers (HR = 0.98, 95%
    CI = 0.83–1.15). The interaction effect of WSC and occupational grade was statistically significant (HR = 0.97, 95%
    CI = 0.95–0.99). Conclusion: High WSC might reduce risk of LTSA. However, the protective effect appears to be
    limited to workers of higher occupational grade.
    TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Public Health
    Udgave nummer2
    Sider (fra-til)328-333
    Antal sider6
    StatusUdgivet - 2016


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