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The Relationship between Workplace Conflicts and Subsequent Physician-Certified Sick Leave. A Prospective Population Study

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  • 2022

The impact of workplace conflicts on sick leave is largely unknown. We studied the associations between conflicts and physician-certified sick leave in a randomly drawn general working population sample. Eligible respondents were interviewed in 2009, 2013, and 2016 and were registered with an employee relationship ≥50 working days in the national sick-leave register the year following the survey interviews (n = 22,088 observations/13,731 respondents). We used mixed-effects logistic regression models (adjusted for sex, age, education level, occupation and sick leave days) to assess the associations of self-reported conflicts with superiors or colleagues and subsequent physician-certified sick leave of 1–16 days (i.e., low-level sick leave (LLSL)) and more than 16 days (i.e., high-level sick leave (HLSL)). Conflicts with superiors were associated with LLSL (OR = 1.73 95% CI 1.15–2.62) and HLSL (OR = 1.84 95% CI 1.15–2.94). The corresponding ORs for conflicts involving colleagues were weaker and largely non-significant. The population risks of LLSL and HLSL attributable to conflicts with superiors were 1.95% (95% CI 0.55–3.41) and 3.98% (95% CI 2.08–5.91), respectively. Conflicts with superiors appear to be an important risk factor for sick leave among employees. Organizations are well-advised to develop policies and competencies to prevent and manage conflicts at...

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) 19(10)
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