New publication on the predcitive validity of the MBI and UWES for future sickness absence

The objective of this study was investigate the Maslach Burnout Inventory—General Survey (MBI—GS) and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) for their ability to identify non-sicklisted employees at increased risk of long-term sickness absence (LTSA). A one-year prospective cohort study was carreid out including 4,921 employees participating in occupational health surveys in the period 2008–2010. The MBI—GS and UWES were part of the health survey questionnaire and LTSA in the year following the health survey was retrieved from an occupational health register. Associations of baseline MBI—GS and UWES scores with LTSA during 1-year follow-up were stratified by the cause (mental, musculoskeletal, and other somatic illness) of LTSA. Discrimination was assessed by the area (AUC) under the receiver operating characteristic curve and considered practically useful for AUC ≥0.75.During 1-year follow-up, 103 employees (2 %) had LTSA due to mental (N = 43), musculoskeletal (N = 31), or other somatic (N = 29) illness. MBI—GS scores were positively and UWES scores negatively associated with mental LTSA, but not musculoskeletal or other somatic LTSA. Discrimination between employees at high and low risk of mental LTSA was moderate: AUC = 0.68 for the MBI—GS and AUC = 0.70 for the UWES. Discrimination did not improve when the MBI—GS and UWES were used simultaneously. It is concluded thatb the MBI—GS and UWES predicted future mental LTSA in non-sicklisted employees, but discrimination was not practically useful for identifying employees at high risk of LTSA. However, both instruments could be used to select employees for further assessment of mental LTSA risk (read more).