- (1) Bispebjerg Hospital, grid.411702.1, Capital Region
- (2) Peking University, grid.11135.37
- (3) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
Organisational change may negatively affect employees’ health and social capital. This study examined the magnitude of mediated effects from organisational change through social capital on long-term sickness absence (LSA) among public hospital workers. In March 2014, 26.209 workers employed through January-December 2013 in the Capital Region of Denmark received a work-environment survey assessing social capital (84% responded). Social capital, measured using 8 self-reported items (collaboration, trust, and organisational justice) ranging 0-5/0-7 (low-high), was aggregated on work-unit level and categorised into quartiles. Organisational change (e.g., merger, layoff(s), and relocation) during July-December 2013 were recorded via surveys sent to all managers (58% responded). Monthly sickness-absence data of 2014 were obtained from regional salary registries (LSA:>28 days). Mediation was assessed using natural effects models nested on January-September 2014 and estimated the natural direct, indirect, and total effects from organisational change on LSA via social capital adjusting for age, gender, work-unit size, occupation, child- and health-proxies. Exposure to merger or layoff(s) yielded significant adverse direct effects (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.12–1.58 and OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.01–1.30, respectively) and adverse indirect effects via social capital (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.02–1.06 and OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.03–1.05, respectively) on LSA (total effects: OR 1.38, 95% CI 1.17–1.64 and OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.05–1.36, respectively). Surprisingly, exposure to relocation showed a protective direct effect (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.58–0.91), but a significant adverse indirect effect (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00–1.03) on LSA (total effect: OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.52–0.92). Social capital potentially mediates adverse effects from organisational change on LSA.