Background: In most European countries, long-term sickness absence contribute the greatest number of days that are reimbursed due to sickness absence. This group is growing and it is constituted mainly of women.
Aim: The present study seeks further knowledge about what happens then and there, i.e., how long-term sickness absent women handle and explain, for themselves and others, this interruption in their daily life.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were performed with 82 middle-aged women with personal experience from long-term sickness absence.
Results: The women's accounts of being sickness absent contained interpretations of what had happen to them, how things were for the moment, and what they thought the future would bring. Three different accounts could be distinguished: the crisis, the breakpoint, and the migration. The perception of their own situation and especially what they thought about their future was associated with their feeling of power to initiative and well-being.
Conclusion: From our study we have found implications for central topics of importance: time elapse, sense of coherence, reorientation/adaptation, and vital goals.
Vital goal, life plan, sense of coherence, phenomenology, women, sickness absence