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August/September 2015 (vol. 12/2)

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Research Plus

Problem-solving and CBT – impact on absence

Interventions based on problem solving or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and delivered by OH services, can reduce time off work from mental health problems, this systematic review and meta-analysis reveals. The 10 included papers were all randomised controlled trials (RCTs), or cluster RCTs, with workers randomised into a problem-solving or CBT-intervention group (756 workers in total) or a ‘care as usual’ (control) group (798 workers). Studies were divided into two subgroups: (1) interventions aimed at workers off sick with, for example, common mental health problems, work-related stress, or depression; or (2) workers not off sick. Subgroup-2 interventions were aimed either at all workers, those considered at high risk of long-term sick leave, or those with a mental health problem. Lost working time was measured as either the number of days to return to work in subgroup 1, or the total absence in subgroup 2. None of the individual studies found a significant difference in lost time between the intervention and control groups. However, the 10-study meta-analysis demonstrated a significant reduction of 6.64 days’ time lost in the intervention groups compared with the controls (CI 0.59–12.68). Evidence quality was low.

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 2015; online first: doi: 10.1007/s00420-014-0996-8.

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Occupational Health at Work August/September 2015 (vol. 12/2) pp39-40