Do frequent exposures to threats and violence at work affect later workforce participation?

  • Karin BieringEmail author
  • Lars Peter Sønderbo Andersen
  • Annie Hogh
  • Johan Hviid Andersen
Original Article



Threats and violence at work are common problems in the human service sector. It can result in physical and psychological health symptoms. The aim of this study was to examine the association between exposure to threats and violence and workforce participation in four human service sectors.


5170 employees answered questionnaires about threats and violence in 2010 and were followed in a register for public transfer incomes for 3.5 years to identify episodes of sick leave, general workforce participation, and permanent health-related benefits.


We found associations between exposures to threats and violence at work and workforce participation, though only a few specific types of threats and violence were associated on their own. Self-rated severity of both threatening and violent episodes was associated with overall low workforce participation, new sick leave episodes, and permanent health-related benefits. However, the latter was not statistically significant. The same pattern seems to be present in the relation between the total amount of exposure to threats and violence (threats score and violence score), respectively, and overall low workforce participation and new sick leave episodes. The threats score was also related to permanent health-related benefits.


Exposure to threats and violence is associated with temporary and permanent health-related benefits as well as with low workforce participation in general, although some of the associations were not statistically significant.


Threats Violence Work Workforce Sick leave Health-related benefits 



This work was supported by the Danish Environmental Research Fund (Grant number 14-2014-03).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Author KB declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author AH declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author LPA declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author JHA declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. This study was conducted based on approval from the Danish Data Protection Agency, journal # 2014-331-0925 and under their rules of data protection.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Occupational Medicine, Danish Ramazzini CentreRegional Hospital West Jutland, University Research ClinicHerningDenmark
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCopenhagen UniversityCopenhagenDenmark

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