Psychological approach of occupational health service to sick leave due to mental problems: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Shotaro Doki
  • Shinichiro SasaharaEmail author
  • Ichiyo Matsuzaki
Review Article



The effects of interventions by occupational health services on sick leave prompted by psychiatric disorders were examined with respect to intervention method and the number of sick leave days.


The intervention methods used by occupational health services were systematically reviewed by searching three databases and manual searching. A meta-analysis of the number of sick leave days comparing the intervention group [intervention + care as usual (CAU)] and control group (CAU alone) was performed. In addition, subanalyses were conducted for the duration until sick-listed workers’ return to work after sick leave (Subgroup 1) and the number of non-sick-listed workers’ total sick leave days (Subgroup 2).


Ten studies were extracted and integrated, and the subjects were subsequently sorted into the intervention group (n = 434, 322, and 756 in subgroup 1, subgroup 2, and total, respectively) and control group (n = 413, 385, and 798 in subgroup 1, subgroup 2, and total, respectively). All studies employed an intervention method of problem-solving treatment or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). There were no significant differences between the intervention and control groups in subgroup 1 or 2. However, the combined intervention group had significantly fewer total sick leave days than the combined control group (mean difference −6.64 days, 95 % CI −12.68 to −0.59, I 2  = 0 %).


The combined study of sick-listed and non-sick-listed workers indicates occupational health services implement problem-solving treatment or CBT interventions, which can shorten total sick leave duration.


Mental illness Meta-analysis Occupational health services Return to work Sick leave 



We are grateful to Yasuhito Hirai, Naoaki Sho, and Shun Suzuki for their help.

Conflict of interest

Shotaro Doki, Shinichiro Sasahara, and Ichiyo Matsuzaki declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shotaro Doki
    • 1
  • Shinichiro Sasahara
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ichiyo Matsuzaki
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate School of Comprehensive Human SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.International Institute for Integrative Sleep MedicineTsukubaJapan

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