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Sickness absence in women—what are the associations with domestic work?
The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4773-1447
Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
2008 (English)In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 18, no Suppl. 1, 36-36 p.Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Issue

One explanation put forward for women’s higher sickness absence, is they often have the main responsibility for the domestic work. Studies on the association between health and ‘double burden’ and ‘interactions between paid and unpaid work’, respectively are common. Few have addressed the association with sickness absence and the specific impact of domestic work.

Description of the problem

Compared with paid work, measures on exposure to domestic work are scarce and less developed. In previous studies on association between domestic work and sickness absence, different measures, such as number and age of children at home, responsibility for household work, working hours in domestic work, and interference between paid and unpaid work have been used. Results are inconsistent and improved measures have been asked for. In a study on employed women in Sweden, a multidimensional perspective of domestic work was used in constructing different measures of domestic work. No associations were found between sickness absence and ‘domestic job strain’. ‘caring activities related to adults’, ‘caring activities related to children’ and ‘domestic life events or difficulties’ were associated with higher risk of sick-leave spells from 8 to 30 days. Lacking ‘domestic work equity and marital satisfaction’ was associated with a higher risk of a new sick-leave spell during the study period, while ‘parental responsibility’ was associated with lower risk of sick-leave.

Lessons learned

Domestic work combines life domains and work tasks with very different meaning and content. A multidimensional assessment of domestic work contributed to identify specific aspects of domestic work that might affect women’s sickness absence, and that might be possible to prevent. Future research needs to improve measures focusing both general and specific domestic work aspects as well as contextual factors so that the complexity of domestic work becomes better defined and operationalized.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Vol. 18, no Suppl. 1, 36-36 p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-21143DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckn503OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-21143DiVA: diva2:588684
Conference
16th European Public Health Conference (EUPHA) Conference, I-health: Health and Innovation in Europe. Lisbon, Portugal, 6-8 November, 2008
Available from: 2013-01-15 Created: 2013-01-15 Last updated: 2017-02-14Bibliographically approved

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