Age was used as a continuous variable. Education was collected by asking participants to select their highest achieved educational level from seven categories: “no primary school education”, “primary school education”, “high school”, “trade school”, “three years of college or university”, “five years of college or university,” or “completed Ph.D”. Education was then categorized into primary (completed primary school education), secondary (completed high school or trade school) or tertiary education (completed a minimum of 3 years of college/university). Work sector was dichotomized as public or private and a response option “Do not know/unsure” was set to missing (n = 9). In Norway, the self-employed is usually viewed as belonging to the private sector. Participants were asked to describe their work using the categories “Mostly sedentary work”, “Work that demand that you walk a lot”, “Work where you walk and lift a lot”, “Heavy manual labour”, and “Do not know/unsure”. These categories were dichotomized into physically demanding or undemanding work by combining the two less demanding categories and the two more demanding categories. “Do not know / unsure” was set to missing (n = 20). Diagnosis was obtained from NAV from the sick listing certificate. Diagnosis is usually set by the individual’s GP using the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC-2) [46]. Diagnosis was categorized as “Musculoskeletal” (ICPC-2 L), “Psychological” (ICPC-2 P), or “Other” (containing all other diagnoses).

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