Mental health at Work, investigating the role of coping expectancies, social support and beliefs about common mental health complaints on sick leave and health

Mental disorders are one of the most frequent causes of long-term sick leave and disability pensions in Norway, and the potential gain from interventions targeting this group is large. Our project aims at providing research-based knowledge to improve health and increase participation in working life for individuals with common mental health complaints. In a randomized, controlled trial we want to test effects of atWork, a workplace intervention focusing on altering employees’ beliefs and behaviour through evidence-based health information. Approximately 100 work units will be randomized to intervention (atWork) or control group (no intervention). The control group will be offered the intervention when the trial is completed. Primary outcome measure is sick leave, secondary outcome measures is health, coping and social support. For main outcome we will have access to register data, but getting a high response rate for the questionnaires will be a key challenge. We will address this challenge by anchoring the project firmly at all levels of the organization, a choice of electronic or paper versions of the questionnaires, and offer interviews to participants with reading/writing challenges. The project will generate knowledge on prevention of sick leave, which may be of considerable benefit both from a societal, organisational and individual perspective. The project will also generate knowledge on coping expectancies and social support, both strong predictors for health.