Purpose Graded return to work (GRTW) is a strategy aimed at bringing people gradually back to coping with a full workload after an extended period of sick leave. This study aims to determine the effect of GRTW in addition to a multimodal rehabilitation on longer-term work participation in people with chronic mental disorders (CMDs). Methods Patients filled out questionnaires at the start of a multimodal rehabilitation and 15 months later. Balanced groups (GRTW, no GRTW) were formed by propensity score matching based on 27 covariates. The primary outcome measures were the return to work (RTW) status at follow-up and the number of days on sick leave during follow-up. Results From 1062 data sets (GRTW 508, no GRTW 554), 381 pairs were matched (age: 47.8 years; 78% female; 65% affective disorders, 28% neurotic or somatic disorders). At follow-up, 88% of the GRTW group had returned to work compared to only 73% of the controls (RR = 1.22, 1.13–1.31). The mean sick leave duration during the follow-up period was 7.0 weeks in the GRTW group compared to 13.4 weeks in the control group (p < 0.001). Additional explorative analyses showed that these effects were only observed in patients with an unsure or negative subjective RTW prognosis. Conclusions Based on this analysis, GRTW in addition to a multimodal rehabilitation is effective in enhancing successful work participation in people with CMDs. Earlier studies showing larger effects in people with a higher risk of a non-RTW were confirmed.
Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren
- Profilbereich: Zentrum für Bevölkerungsmedizin und Versorgungsforschung (ZBV)