University of Gothenburg
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Insurance medicine

Why are so many people in Sweden on sick leave nowadays? What risk factors are there, and how can we achieve prevention? More information about the Institute of Medicine’s research in insurance medicine may be found here.

Our research

Our research on insurance medicine is conducted through both clinical and population studies. The researchers seek to understand what causes sick leave, to identify risk factors and to find out how the work environment, health and sickness absence are connected. The aim is to develop knowledge that can serve to prevent sick leave and strengthen capacity in the employment sector and primary care. This will facilitate more effective identification of, and support for, the individuals concerned, to avert long-term ill health and sick leave.

Research areas

  • Identifying risk factors for sick leave
  • Preventing sickness absence
  • Identifying risk and protective factors for return to work
  • Studying work procedures in primary care relating to sick leave
  • Enhancing managers’ knowledge of mental ill health
  • Facilitating communication between patient, doctor and employer

Current projects

Our researchers are currently studying depression and anxiety disorders, stress, pain and other conditions among economically active people. One research programme, New Ways, focuses on boosting knowledge of how to identify, treat and support people so that they can maintain their work capacity and reduce their need for sick leave. In primary care, studies are under way to test new work procedures to improve the response to people with mental ill health. Researchers at the department are also working to find methods of preventing neck and shoulder pain.

Important findings

  • Compared with male managers, a higher proportion of female managers in both the private and the public sector take initiatives to prevent mental ill health at the workplace
  • Appointing care coordinators for patients treated for mental health problems in primary care shortens their sickness absence

Close connection between research and education

There is close cooperation between the Institute’s research and our education and training, in which many of our researchers too are involved. They supervise doctoral students and teach on our regular programmes, freestanding courses and vocational care programmes within Sahlgrenska Academy.

Read more about our education