GRANTS. Gunnel Hensing, a professor of social medicine, will receive almost SEK 4 million from AFA Insurance to investigate what factors can enable an individual to work, despite mental illness.
“Many studies deal with factors that keep people from remaining at work. And by remaining at work, we mean primarily whether they are on sick leave or not,” says Gunnel Hensing, who works at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine.
Survey and register
Her research team will now survey 20,000 employees in various sectors, asking recipients to answer questions about issues such as their mental health, their capacity for work, and their work environment.
“We have based the questions about capacity for work on a survey we developed in our research team and several qualitative studies in which we interviewed participants about how different symptoms affect their capacity for work. A year later we will follow up the participants through registers to see if those who have been on sick leave during the year differ from those who have not been on sick leave. There may be differences in their working environment, severity of mental illness, degree of reduced capacity for work or the extent of treatment received.”
Hensing notes that the survey itself will be interesting because it will be the first of its kind to measure capacity for work in a large working population.
“How common is it for those working to have a reduced capacity for work? How strong is the connection between mental illness and the work environment? Capacity for work is an interesting, dynamic concept that always depends on the individual’s work situation and how that person perceives it. When we have collected data in the survey, we can use it to conduct analyses. For answers to the other main question, we will have to wait a year.”
TEXT: ELIN LINDSTRÖM