liu.seSearch for publications in DiVA
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Sickness absence due to musculoskeletal diagnoses: association with occupational gender segregation
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Preventive and Social Medicine and Public Health Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Preventive and Social Medicine and Public Health Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2004 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 32, no 2, 94-101 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Musculoskeletal disorders represent a considerable public health problem and the most common diagnoses behind sickness absence and disability pensions. However, little is known about how sickness absence with these diagnoses varies with the strong gender segregation of the labour market.

Aims: A study was undertaken to investigate the association between musculoskeletal-related sickness absence and occupational gender segregation.

Methods: The study was population based, and included all new sick-leave spells exceeding seven days due to musculoskeletal diagnoses, comprising neck/ shoulder pain, low back pain, and osteoarthritis in Östergötland county, Sweden, which has 393,000 inhabitants (5% of the national population). The participants were all sick-leave insured employed persons in Östergötland (n=182,663) in 1985.

Results: Cumulative incidence of musculoskeletal-related sickness absence (>7 days) was higher for women (7.5%, 95% confidence interval [C.I.] 7.3-7.7) than for men, (5.8%, C.I. 5.6-5.9), and the same was true for the mean number of sick-leave days (women 81, C.I. 78-83; men 65, C.I. 63-68). Grouping occupations according to degree of numerical gender segregation revealed the highest incidence and duration of sickness absence for women in male-dominated occupations. For both genders, the lowest cumulative incidence and duration occurred in gender-integrated occupations.

Conclusions: Our results indicate a strong association between occupational gender segregation and musculoskeletal-related sickness absence. Further studies are needed to elucidate gender segregation of the labour market in relation to health and rehabilitation measures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 32, no 2, 94-101 p.
Keyword [en]
Gender, Gender segregation, Men, Musculoskeletal diagnoses, Sick-leave, Women
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-45572DOI: 10.1080/14034940310006195OAI: diva2:266468
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2012-09-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Integrating perspectives in social medicine
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integrating perspectives in social medicine
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis sickness absence was studied from a socio-medical perspective using both epidemiological and clinical data and methods of analysing. The specific aim of the epidemiological studies was to analyse sickness absence patterns and its changes in the total population of Östergötland. Furthermore, variations with gender, age and occupation were analysed. Gender trends in sickness absence concerning musculoskeletal diagnoses, its changes from 1985 to 1987 and association of numerical gender segregation in occupational categories with sickness absence due to musculoskeletal diagnoses was also investigated.

The specific aim of the clinical studies was to estimate the frequency and character of psycho-social problems in a population with repeated short-term sickness absence. A clinical socio-medical supportive program for this patient-group was assessed. Finally, the vocational activity, program costs and possible benefits to society of a clinical, socio-medical case management program was evaluated.

The results showed that women had much higher sickness absence than men generally and in particular in male-dominated occupational categories. The cumulative incidence percentage of siclmess absence in all diagnoses increased for both genders from 1985 to 1987. There were large variations between different occupational categories; blue-collar occupations were high-risk for sickness absence while white-collar occupations were low risk.

Women had higher cumulative incidence than men in musculoskeletal diagnoses and also longer duration of sick leave days per sick leave insured person and per sick-listed person. The cumulative incidence for the diagnostic sub-group "neck/shoulder diagnoses" showed the highest percentage increase from 1985-87. The cumulative incidence in all musculoskeletal diagnostic groups was highest for both genders in extremely male-dominated occupational categories (>90% men).

The study of repeated short-tenn sick leave showed that the underlying reasons were less medical and more of a socio-medical origin for 2/3 of the patients in comparison with an age- and sex-matched sample of patients at the general practitioner's surgery in the same area. A majority of patients, who had taken part in a socio-medical supportive program reported a better quality of life, although they did not specifically ascribe this to the socio-medical intervention.

When investigating the long-term economic effect of a clinical case management program for patients with chronic minor disease, the benefit-cost ratio of the program was 4.9. Fifty per cent of the patients had been absent from working life for more than two years on admission to the program. The rehabilitation rate of patients back to work was 20.5% after one year and 11 .7% after five years.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2002. 61 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 754
National Category
Social Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-26341 (URN)10865 (Local ID)91-7373-199-4 (ISBN)10865 (Archive number)10865 (OAI)
Public defence
2002-11-20, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitetet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2012-09-18Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Leijon, MargaretaAlexanderson, Kristina
By organisation
Division of Preventive and Social Medicine and Public Health ScienceFaculty of Health Sciences
In the same journal
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
Medical and Health Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 53 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link