Research project

Short description

Early identification of work-related stress is important in order to prevent long-term sick leave and promote a return to work. In particular, studies have indicated that it is important to be able to identify stress that is due to the combination of perceived stress due to unclear work organization, and stress due to personal involvement in the work.


The objectives were to identify work-related stress, and to analyse whether or not work-related stress served to predict sick-leave in a population of employed women who saw a doctor due to musculoskeletal or mental disorder at primary health care centres.


This prospective study was based on data collected with the Work Stress Questionnaire (WSQ) at baseline 2008 and at follow-up 2009 in the primary health care centres in western Sweden. A total of 198 women participated.

High perceived stress owing to indistinct organization and conflicts at baseline increased the risk for sick-leave 8 days or longer at follow-up. The adjusted relative risk (RR) was 2.50 (1.14–5.49). The combination of high stress perception owing to indistinct organization and high stress perception owing to individual demands and commitment increased the risk for sickness absence of 8 days or longer with an adjusted RR of 4.34 (1.72–10.99).


Work-related stress predicted sick-leave during the follow-up at 12 months. The WSQ seemed to be useful in identifying women at risk of future sick-leave. Thus, it can be recommended to introduce questions and questionnaires on work-related stress in primary health care settings to early identify women with the need for preventive measures in order to decrease risk for sick-leave due to work related stress.


Early identification of work-related stress predicted sickness absence in employed women with musculoskeletal or mental disorders. A prospective, longitudinal study in a primary health care setting. 
Holmgren K, Fjällström Lundgren M, Hensing G 
Disabil Rehabil 2013 Mar;35(5):418-26

Arbetsrelaterad stress hos yrkesverksamma kvinnor som söker till primärvården för muskuloskeletala eller psykiska besvär. 
Holmgren K, Fjällström Lundgren M, Hensing G
Socialmedicinsk tidskrift 2011;5:436-444.

Tidig identifiering av arbetsrelaterad stress – En delrapport av TIDIG- PROJEKTET - Tidigt identifiering på vårdcentral av kvinnor som riskerar långtidssjukskrivning på grund av arbetsrelaterad stress.
Holmgren K, Hensing G, Fjällström Lundgren M.
Enheten för Socialmedicin. Avd. för samhällsmedicin och folkhälsa, Sahlgrenska akademin, Göteborgs universitet, 2010.