Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Brouwers, E. P.M., Tiemens, B. G., Terluin, B., & Verhaak, P. F.M. (2006). Effectiveness of an intervention to reduce sickness absence in patients with emotional distress or minor mental disorders: a randomized controlled effectiveness trial. General Hospital Psychiatry, 28 (3), 223-229.
Title:  Effectiveness of an intervention to reduce sickness absence in patients with emotional distress or minor mental disorders: a randomized controlled effectiveness trial
Authors:  Brouwers, E. P.M., Tiemens, B. G., Terluin, B., & Verhaak, P. F.M.
Year:  2006
Journal/Publication:  General Hospital Psychiatry
Publisher:  Elsevier
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2006.02.005
Full text:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163834306000363...   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Randomized controlled trial

Structured abstract:

Background:  Mental health problems have an impact on well-being and quality of life and often affect functioning to such an extent that they are associated with absenteeism. In the Netherlands, about one third of the people receiving disability benefits do so because of mental health problems, the majority of which are minor mental health problems including emotional distress.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an activating intervention designed to reduce sick leave duration in patients with emotional distress or minor mental disorders.
Setting:  The settings were various places where participants worked.
Study sample:  The sample included 194 patients with minor mental disorders.
Intervention:  Participants received either an experimental intervention by social workers or general practitioners' usual care. The intervention focused on understanding causes, developing and implementing problem-solving strategies and promoting early work resumption.
Control or comparison condition:  The control condition was the general practitioner's usual care.
Data collection and analysis:  Outcome measures were sick leave duration, mental health and physical health (questionnaires included the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Four-Dimensional Symptom Questionnaire and SF-36), all measured at baseline at and 3, 6 and 18 months later. Multilevel analyses were used to evaluate differences between groups.
Findings:  The groups did not differ significantly on any of the outcome measures, except that the experimental group reported higher satisfaction with treatment.
Conclusions:  Although the intervention has benefits, it was not successful at its primary goal (i.e., to reduce sick leave duration in patients with emotional distress or minor mental disorders). Programs aimed at the reduction of sick leave duration may yield better results if targeted at patients with more severe emotional problems than at those with exclusively emotional distress or minor mental disorders, or if delivered by caregivers who are closer to the work environment than are social workers, such as occupational physicians.

Disabilities served:  Anxiety disorder
Chronic mental illness
Depression
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Interventions:  Compensatory strategies
Psychological counseling
Outcomes:  Return to work