Sick leave is a current topic in the public debate and there is an increased attention in the research community, especially after the introduction of the IA-agreement (the agreement on a more inclusive work environment). Data from the living-condition survey -working environment by Statistics Norway shows that almost two out of five persons annually report a sick leave period of at least 14 days, and claiming that the leave is caused by health problems that are wholly or partially work-related. It is well documented that the psychosocial work environment has importance for somatic and psychological health problems, and several recent Norwegian studies report an association between psychosocial work environment factors and musculoskeletal and mental health disorders.

In 2012 these two diagnostic groups represented 59 per cent of doctor certified sick leave in Norway, and such diagnoses often lead to long-term sick leave. Several international and some Norwegian studies report that the psychosocial work environment have an impact on sick leave. However which psychosocial factors who are considered most important for long-term sick leave has previously not been studied in a representative sample of the Norwegian working population. In addition, employees in the health-, social- and educational sectors are especially prone to high sick leave, and so far no Norwegian sector studies have been carried out with doctor certified sick leave as outcome.

The purpose of this project is to study which psychosocial factors predict long-term sick leave in the general working population. In this project we will also focus on work groups within health-, social- and educational sectors, with special attention to if there are the same factors identified as risk factors in the general working population or if there are other more important psychosocial factors identified as risk factors for sick leave in these sectors.
The identification of specific psychosocial risk factors for doctor certified sick leave is important for the prevention of health at work. In this project data from the living-condition survey are coupled with the sick leave registers from NAV, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration.