Dr Evelien Brouwers
+31 (0)13 466 2962
Effectiveness of the guideline management of workers with common mental health problems by occupational physicians: a randomised controlled trial
Sick listed employees treated by occupational physicians (OPs) who are trained in and closely follow the guideline will have a shorter sick leave duration than those in the control group.
Medical Research Ethics Committee of St. Elisabeth Hospital in Tilburg, MREC number 1162
Multicentre randomised controlled trial longitudinal design with follow up
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use contact details to request a patient information sheet
Sick leave due to common mental disorders
OPs in the experimental condition are trained in the Dutch guideline 'management of workers with common mental health problems by occupational physicians'. OPs will be divided into groups of 6 - 10 OPs, and will gather for monthly meetings of approximately 1 hour, over 1 year. Using action research and focus group discussions it will be investigated which barriers OPs encounter in using the guideline. Subsequently, barriers will be explored and possible solutions will be discussed by means of a 'plan, do, check, act' cycle.
OPs from the control group provide care as usual.
The total duration of follow up will be 12 months.
Primary outcome measure
Time to full return to work, defined as the number of days between the first day of sickness absence and the first day of full return to work
Secondary outcome measures
1. Partial return to work
2. Total days of sick leave at 12 months
3. Patient satisfaction, assessed by a short questionnaire developed for this study
4. Symptoms, measured using the 4DSQ (Terluin 2002)
Outcomes will be assessed at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. A common mental disorder, i.e. anxiety, depression, burnout or emotional distress, is the primary reason for sick leave at the time of inclusion. Physical problems may be present, but should not cause absenteeism
2. Dutch speaking
3. Counseled by an OP that takes part in the study
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Acute crisis or suicidality
2. Sick leave duration of less than 4 weeks, as a quick recovery of part of this group may dilute the statistical power of the study
3. Sick leave duration of more than 8 weeks, as the study aims to prevent long term sick leave
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) (Netherlands) - (ref: 208030001)
Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development
Funding Body Type
private sector organisation
Funding Body Subtype
Other non-profit organizations
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Not provided at time of registration
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Not provided at time of registration
Basic results (scientific)
van Beurden KM, Brouwers EP, Joosen MC, Terluin B, van der Klink JJ, van Weeghel J, Effectiveness of guideline-based care by occupational physicians on the return-to-work of workers with common mental disorders: design of a cluster-randomised controlled trial., BMC Public Health, 2013, 13, 193, doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-193.
van Beurden KM, van der Klink JJ, Brouwers EP, Joosen MC, Mathijssen JJ, Terluin B, van Weeghel J, Effect of an intervention to enhance guideline adherence of occupational physicians on return-to-work self-efficacy in workers sick-listed with common mental disorders, BMC Public Health, 2015, 15, 796, doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-2125-3.