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The gender gap in sickness absence from work and the influence of parental absence on offspring absence 15 years later. Register-based cohort of Norwegians born in 1974-1976

Background: Women have shown consistently higher levels of sickness absence from work in comparison to men, but explanations for this gender gap have not been completely understood. Life-course studies suggest that health and health-related social benefits in adult age are influenced by early life experiences. We aimed to estimate intergenerational associations with a 15-year time gap between parents’ and offspring sickness absences, pursuing the hypothesis that this parental influence would have a stronger impact for women than for men. Methods: All persons born alive between 1974 and 1976 in Norway were followed up in several national registries. Employed persons considered to be at risk of sickness absence and also with parents at risk of sickness absence (n = 78 878) were followed in the calendar year of their 33rd birthday with respect to spells lasting >16 days. The probability of one or more spells during this year constituted the one-year risk under study. Additive risk differences in association with an exposure (parental sickness absence 15 years earlier) were estimated in a binomial regression analysis. The estimates were adjusted for parental socioeconomic factors. Results: The 1-year sickness absence risk was higher for women (30.4 %) than for men (12.3 %). The crude risk...

BMC Public Health 15
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