Content » Vol 49, Issue 2

Original report

Effectiveness of two vocational rehabilitation programmes in women with long-term sick leave due to pain syndrome or mental illness: 1-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial

Per Lytsy, Lars Carlsson, Ingrid Anderzén
Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, SE-75122 Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2188


Objective: Mental illness and chronic pain are common reasons for long-term sick leave, typically more so for women. This study investigated the effects on return to work of 2 vocational rehabilitation programmes.
Methods: In this randomized controlled study, 308 women were allocated to treatment with acceptance and commitment therapy, to multidisciplinary assessment and individualized rehabilitation interventions, or to a control group. Return-to-work at 12 months was assessed as: (i) returning to health insurance; (ii) number of reimbursed health insurance days during follow-up; (iii) self-reported change in working hours; (iv) a composite measure of self-reported change in work-related engagement.
Results: The mean age of the Swedish study population was 48. 5 years (standard deviation (SD) 6. 3 years) and the mean time on sick leave 7. 5 years (SD 3. 2 years). There were no significant differences in reimbursed days or returning to the health insurance at 12 months. The multidisciplinary assessment and individualized rehabilitation interventions group, compared with control, reported a significant increase in working hours per week, as well as a significant increase in work-related engagement.
Conclusion: Multidisciplinary assessments and individual rehabilitation interventions may improve the chance of return-to-work in women with long-term sick leave due to pain condition or mental illness.

Lay Abstract


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