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Adjustment latitude and attendance requirements as determinants of sickness absence or attendance. Empirical tests of the illness flexibility model


  • Johansson, Gun
  • Lundberg, Ingvar


This study investigates whether the two dimensions of illness flexibility at work, adjustment latitude and attendance requirements are associated to sickness absence and sickness attendance. Adjustment latitude describes the opportunities people have to reduce or in other ways change their work-effort when ill. Such opportunities can be to choose among work tasks or work at a slower pace. Attendance requirements describe negative consequences of being away from work that can affect either the subject, work mates or a third party. In a cross-sectional design data based on self-reports from a questionnaire from 4924 inhabitants in the county of Stockholm were analysed. The results showed that low adjustment latitude, as predicted, increased women's sickness absence. However, it did not show any relation to men's sickness absence and men's and women's sickness attendance. Attendance requirements were strongly associated to both men's and women's sickness absence and sickness attendance in the predicted way. Those more often required to attend were less likely to be absent and more likely to attend work at illness. As this is the first study of how illness flexibility at work affects behaviour at illness, it was concluded that more studies are needed.

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  • Johansson, Gun & Lundberg, Ingvar, 2004. "Adjustment latitude and attendance requirements as determinants of sickness absence or attendance. Empirical tests of the illness flexibility model," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(10), pages 1857-1868, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:58:y:2004:i:10:p:1857-1868

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Barnes, Maria Carla & Buck, Rhiannon & Williams, Gareth & Webb, Katie & Aylward, Mansel, 2008. "Beliefs about common health problems and work: A qualitative study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(4), pages 657-665, August.
    2. repec:eee:labeco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:150-165 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sigursteinsdóttir, Hjördís & Rafnsdóttir, Gudbjörg Linda, 2015. "Sickness and sickness absence of remaining employees in a time of economic crisis: A study among employees of municipalities in Iceland," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 95-102.
    4. Karanika-Murray, Maria & Pontes, Halley M. & Griffiths, Mark D. & Biron, Caroline, 2015. "Sickness presenteeism determines job satisfaction via affective-motivational states," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 100-106.
    5. Bubonya, Melisa & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Wooden, Mark, 2017. "Mental health and productivity at work: Does what you do matter?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 150-165.
    6. Hansen, Claus D. & Andersen, Johan H., 2008. "Going ill to work - What personal circumstances, attitudes and work-related factors are associated with sickness presenteeism?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(6), pages 956-964, September.
    7. Backhans, Mona Christina & Burström, Bo & Lindholm, Lars & Månsdotter, Anna, 2009. "Pioneers and laggards - Is the effect of gender equality on health dependent on context?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(8), pages 1388-1395, April.
    8. Hansson, Margareta & Boström, Carina & Harms-Ringdahl, Karin, 2006. "Sickness absence and sickness attendance--What people with neck or back pain think," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(9), pages 2183-2195, May.
    9. Backhans, Mona C. & Lundberg, Michael & Månsdotter, Anna, 2007. "Does increased gender equality lead to a convergence of health outcomes for men and women? A study of Swedish municipalities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(9), pages 1892-1903, May.


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