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Does Organizational Justice Protect from Sickness-Absence Following a Major Life Event? Finnish Public Sector study
  1. Marko Elovainio1,
  2. Mika Kivimäki2,
  3. Anne Linna, Dr.3,
  4. Joel Brockner4,
  5. Kees van den Bos5,
  6. Jerald Greenberg6,
  7. Jaana Pentti3,
  8. Marianna Virtanen3,
  9. Jussi Vahtera3
  1. 1 Stakes/UCL, Finland;
  2. 2 UCL, United Kingdom;
  3. 3 FIOH, Finland;
  4. 4 Columbia University, United States;
  5. 5 Utrecht Univeristy, Netherlands;
  6. 6 Univesity of Singapore, Singapore
  1. * Corresponding author; email: marianna.virtanen{at}


Objectives: The present research examined whether higher levels of organizational justice at work protects from negative health effects following stressful life events.

Methods: Using a prospective longitudinal design, we studied the relationships between organizational justice and sickness-related absences both before and after a major life event among 25459 public sector employees working in 2551 work units. Sickness absences covered the period from 36 months prior to the event until 30 months after the event.

Results: The increase in sickness absences after the event was bigger and stayed at a higher level even 30 months after the event, among those who perceived the management practices in their work unit to be relatively unfair. Similar patterns were found for each of the distributive, procedural and interactional dimensions of organizational justice.

Conclusions: Fair organizational and managerial procedures may buffer the negative health effects of psychosocial health risks outside work.

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