Objectives: Sickness absence due to mental disease in the workplace has become a global public health problem. Previous studies report that sickness presenteeism is associated with sickness absence. We aimed to determine optimal cutoff scores for presenteeism in the screening of the future absences due to mental disease.
Methods: A prospective study of 2195 Japanese employees from all areas of Japan was conducted. Presenteeism and depression were measured by the validated Japanese version of the World Health Organization Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (WHO-HPQ) and K6 scale, respectively. Absence due to mental disease across a 2-year follow-up was surveyed using medical certificates obtained for work absence. Socioeconomic status was measured via a self-administered questionnaire. Receiver operating curve (ROC) analysis was used to determine optimal cutoff scores for absolute and relative presenteeism in relation to the area under the curve (AUC), sensitivity, and specificity.
Results: The AUC values for absolute and relative presenteeism were 0.708 (95% CI, 0.618-0.797) and 0.646 (95% CI, 0.546-0.746), respectively. Optimal cutoff scores of absolute and relative presenteeism were 40 and 0.8, respectively. With multivariate adjustment, cohort participants with our proposal cutoff scores for absolute and relative presenteeism were significantly more likely to be absent due to mental disease (OR= 4.85, 95% CI: 2.20-10.73 and OR= 5.37, 95% CI: 2.42-11.93, respectively). The inclusion or exclusion of depressive symptoms (K6≥13) at baseline in the multivariate adjustment did not influence the results.
Conclusions: Our proposed optimal cutoff scores of absolute and relative presenteeism are 40 and 0.8, respectively. Participants who scored worse than the cutoff scores for presenteeism were significantly more likely to be absent in future because of mental disease. Our findings suggest that the utility of presenteeism in the screening of sickness absence due to mental disease would help prevent such an absence.
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