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Sickness presenteeism is more than an alternative to sickness absence: results from the population-based SLOSH study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
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2012 (English)In: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, ISSN 0340-0131, E-ISSN 1432-1246, Vol. 85, no 8, 905-914 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PURPOSE: Sickness presenteeism, defined as 'going to work despite judging that one should have reported in sick', is usually considered to be a complementary alternative to sickness absence. Nonetheless, several studies have reported a positive association between sickness absence and sickness presenteeism. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the contemporaneous positive association between sickness absence and sickness presenteeism can be explained by illness, work incapacity, and/or work environment.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study based on answers to a comprehensive questionnaire from 8,304 working women and men, those in the second wave of the nationally representative Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health. Logistic regression was used to investigate the association between sickness presenteeism and sickness absence.

RESULTS: Sickness absence was strongly associated with sickness presenteeism. Sickness absence of 1-7 days during a 12-month period more than doubled the odds of also having sickness presenteeism of more than 8 days during the same 12-month period (OR = 2.11; 95% CI: 1.79-2.49). Adjusting for age and sex did not attenuate the association; further adjustment for work environment, self-rated health, chronic diseases, and work capacity reduced the odds somewhat, but they remained highly significant (OR = 1.88; 95% CI: 1.56-2.25).

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that sickness presenteeism is not, as earlier hypothesised, just an alternative to sickness absence, given a certain level of health or work incapacity. Other, so far unknown explanations for both sickness absence and sickness presenteeism must be sought.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 85, no 8, 905-914 p.
Keyword [en]
Sick leave, Sickness absence, Sickness presenteeism, Sweden, Working conditions
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92937DOI: 10.1007/s00420-012-0735-yPubMedID: 22270388Local ID: P3010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-92937DiVA: diva2:643208
Available from: 2013-08-26 Created: 2013-08-26 Last updated: 2017-10-23Bibliographically approved

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