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Scand J Public Health. 2009 Nov;37(8):839-45. doi: 10.1177/1403494809346871. Epub 2009 Sep 2.

Long-term sickness absence and social exclusion.

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Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS), Stockholm University/Karolinska Institute, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.



In previous research, ill-health and marginalization from the labour market have been pointed out as potential triggers for being marginalized from other spheres of society as well, e.g. economic, political and social, i.e. social exclusion. However, very few studies have examined the consequences of long-term sickness absence.


The research question raised here is therefore to examine the relationship between long-term sickness absence (> or = 60 days) and social exclusion among individuals.


The logistic regression analyses are based on longitudinal data (n = 3,144) from the Swedish Level of Living Survey linked to register data.


The results suggest that both women and men have higher odds of having no excess cash (''cash margins'') after their long-term sickness absence, compared with people with no such sickness absence. Women seem more likely to have no cash margins combined with being single/unmarried and having no close friends after long-term sickness absence, than do women without such sick-listing. The results indicate a slight mediating effect of employment status on the odds ratios for these economic and social conditions.


The present study suggests that long-term sickness absence increases the risk of adverse economic and social conditions among individuals. That these conditions can be seen as indicators of social exclusion is more doubtful.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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