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Symptom reduction due to psychosocial interventions is not accompanied by a reduction in sick leave: Results from a randomized controlled trial in primary care
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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Number of Authors: 8
2014 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, ISSN 0281-3432, E-ISSN 1502-7724, Vol. 32, no 2, 67-72 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective. To investigate whether interventions that have positive effects on psychological symptoms and quality of life compared with usual care would also reduce days on sick leave. Design. A randomized controlled trial. Setting. A large primary health care centre in Stockholm, Sweden. Intervention. Patients with common mental disorders were recruited by their GPs and randomized into one of two group interventions that took place in addition to usual care. These group interventions were: (a) group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and (b) group multimodal intervention (MMI). Both types of intervention had previously shown significant effects on quality of life, and MMI had also shown significant effects on psychological symptoms. Patients. Of the 245 randomized patients, 164 were employed and had taken sick leave periods of at least two weeks in length during the study period of two years. They comprised the study group. Main outcome measures. The odds, compared with usual care, for being sick-listed at different times relative to the date of randomization. Results. The mean number of days on sick leave increased steadily in the two years before randomization and decreased in the two years afterwards, showing the same pattern for all three groups. The CBT and MMI interventions did not show the expected lower odds for sick-listing compared with usual care during the two-year follow-up. Conclusion. Reduction in psychological symptoms and increased well-being did not seem to be enough to reduce sickness absence for patients with common mental problems in primary care. The possibility of adding workplace-oriented interventions is discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 32, no 2, 67-72 p.
Keyword [en]
General practice, group psychotherapy, primary health care, psychological symptoms, psychosocial interventions, randomized controlled trial, sick leave, Sweden
National Category
Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106439DOI: 10.3109/02813432.2014.909163ISI: 000337893300004OAI: diva2:736213


Available from: 2014-08-05 Created: 2014-08-04 Last updated: 2014-08-05Bibliographically approved

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Öst, Lars-GöranRamnerö, Jonas
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