Medically certified sickness absence with insurance benefits in women with and without children
2012 (English)In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 22, no 1, 85-92 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background: Sickness absence in Sweden is high, particularly in young women and the reasons are unclear. Many Swedish women combine parenthood and work and are facing demands that may contribute to impaired health and well-being. We compared mothers and women without children under different conditions, assuming increased sickness absence in mothers, due to time-based stress and psychological strain. Methods: All women born in 1960-79 (1.2 million) were followed from 1993 to 2003. Information on children in the home for each year was related to medically certified sickness absence with insurance benefits the year after. We used age and time-stratified proportional hazard regression models accounting for the individual's changes on study variables over time. Data were retrieved from national administrative registers. Results: Sickness absence was higher in mothers than in women without children, the relative risks decreased by age, with no effect after the age of 35 years. An effect appeared in lonely women irrespective of age, while in cohabiting women only for the ages 20-25 years. Mothers showed increased sickness absence in all subgroups of country of birth, education, income, sector of employment and place of residence. The relation between number of children and sickness absence was nonlinear, with the highest relative risks for mothers of one child. The upward trend of sickness absence at the end of 1990s was steeper for mothers compared to women without children. Conclusion: Despite the well-developed social security system and child care services in Sweden, parenthood predicts increased sickness absence, particularly in young and in lone women.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 22, no 1, 85-92 p.
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-76333DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckr028ISI: 000299746500021OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-76333DiVA: diva2:526684