The effect of mental ill health on absence from work in different occupational classifications: analysis of routine data in the British Household Panel Survey

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Whittaker, W. ; Sutton, M. ; Macdonald, S. ; Maxwell, M. ; Smith, M. ; Wilson, P. ; Morrison, J. (2012)

<b>Objective</b> To investigate relationship of mental ill health to absence from work in different occupational classifications.<p></p>\ud \ud <b>Method</b> Examined sickness absence, mental health (GHQ-12), physical health, job characteristics, and personal characteristics in 18 waves of the British Household Panel Survey.<p></p>\ud \ud <b>Results</b> Overall sickness absence rate was 1.68%. Increased absence was associated with age greater than 45 years, female gender, lower occupational classification, and public-sector employers. Decreased absence was associated with part-time working. Scoring 4 or more on the General Health Questionnaire 12-item version (GHQ-12 caseness) was strongly associated with sickness absence. Public-sector employers had highest rates of sickness absence. GHQ-12 caseness had largest impact on absence in the public and nonprofit sectors, whereas physical health problems impacted more in the private sector.<p></p>\ud \ud <b>Conclusions</b> GHQ-12 caseness is strongly associated with increased absence in all classifications of occupations. Differences between sectors require further investigation.
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