Digital Public Defence: Mattias Erik Victor

M.Sc Mattias Erik Victor at Institute of Health and Society will be defending the thesis “Patient characteristics and factors associated with post-treatment work participation in a Norwegian return to work programme for common mental disorders” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

Image may contain: Glasses, Chin, Forehead, Elder.

Photo: Anners Lerdal.

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the digital public defence

Download Zoom here


Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

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Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Assistant professor Karen Nieuwenhuijsen, Amsterdam UMC
  • Second opponent: Professor II, Specialist Director Simon Øverland, Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor II Jan Ivar Røssberg, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Reidar Tyssen, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Professor II Bjørn Lau, University of Oslo


Common mental disorders (CMDs), such as depression and anxiety, account for a large proportion of sickness absence (SA) in many countries. In recent years, interventions have been developed to facilitate return to work (RTW) after SA caused by mental disorders. After such interventions, the number of participants returning to work varies, and the factors associated with RTW are not fully understood. It is also not clear whether patients in Norwegian RTW programmes differ from patients in regular health care services. 

The overall aim of this thesis was to study patients treated in a RTW programme for CMDs, to identify patient characteristics and factors associated with RTW. Patients answered self-report questionnaires, and therapists reported on patient health status and treatment content.

Patients in the RTW clinic reported lower levels of psychological distress relative to patients in a regular outpatient clinic. There was no difference in health-related quality of life.

At the end of treatment, the number of patients at the RTW clinic with full work participation had increased, and there were improvements in symptoms, work ability, expectations of future work ability and self-efficacy. Higher baseline work ability and positive expectancy of future work ability, no history of psychiatric treatment and higher focus on RTW in treatment were associated with successful RTW at the end of treatment.

At the 6-month follow-up after treatment had ended, there were small further improvements in work ability and self-efficacy. High occupational status and higher work ability at the end of treatment were associated with successful RTW at the 6-month follow-up.

In RTW interventions for patients with CMDs, assessing work ability and expectations of RTW at the beginning of treatment is recommended. It is also recommended that treatment be focused not only on symptom-relief but also on improving work ability and actual RTW.

Additional information

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Published Sep. 3, 2020 1:48 PM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2020 1:30 PM