Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2020;46(3):302-310    pdf full text


Do gender and psychosocial job stressors modify the relationship between disability and sickness absence: An investigation using 12 waves of a longitudinal cohort

by Milner A, Aitken Z, Byars S, Butterworth P, Kavanagh A

Objectives A considerable proportion of the working population reports a disability. These workers may be at risk of adverse outcomes, including longer periods of sickness absence. This study examined the causal effect of disability on sickness absence and the role of psychosocial job stressors and gender as effect modifiers.

Methods Data on paid and unpaid sick leave, disability (yes/no) and psychosocial job stressors were available from 2005 to 2017 from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. Negative binomial models were used to model the rate of sickness absence in a year.

Results In the random effects model, workers with disability had 1.20 greater rate of sickness absence in a year [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.17–1.23, P<0.001] after adjustment for confounders. The rate was slightly lower in the fixed effects model. There was evidence of multiplicative interaction of the effect by gender and job control. The effect of disability on sickness absence was greater among men than women, and higher for people with low job control compared to those with high job control.

Conclusions There is a need for more research about the factors that can reduce sickness leave among workers with disabilities.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2016;42(5):359-370  2015;41(5):451-459
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