Psychological distress, fatigue and long-term sickness absence: prospective results from the Maastricht Cohort Study

U. Bültmann*, M.J.H. Huibers, L.G.P.M. van Amelsvoort, Y. Kant, S.V. Kasl, G.M.H. Swaen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Little is known about psychological distress as a risk factor for the onset of long-term sickness absence and even less about the influence of fatigue in this relationship.We examined the relationship between psychological distress and the onset of long-term sickness absence during 18 months of follow-up while considering fatigue. Analyses were based on 6403 employees participating in the Maastricht Cohort Study.Psychological distress was related to the onset of long-term sickness absence (women relative risk 1.45, 95% confidence interval = 1.23-1.72; men 1.33, 1.21-1.46). Adjustment for fatigue weakened the associations, particularly in women. Caseness analyses revealed different effects of psychological distress and fatigue in the onset of long-term sickness absence in men and women.The findings underline the need for interventions aiming at psychological distress and, depending on the gender, also at fatigue, to reduce the risk of long-term sickness absence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-947
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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