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Job satisfaction and short-term sickness absence among Dutch workers

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  • Economics
  • Education
  • Mathematics


Background Sickness absence is a considerable economic and social problem. Short-term sickness absence is known to be associated with behavioural attitudes. The correlation between sickness absence and job satisfaction has been studied infrequently and with contradictory results. Aims This study investigated the correlation between short-term sickness absence and both global and specific job satisfaction. We defined short-term sickness absence as spells of up to 42 days. Methods A random sample of 898 Dutch workers from a variety of economic sectors and companies received a self-report questionnaire on their first day of sick leave. The questionnaire measured global and specific job satisfaction. In our regression analysis, we controlled for the confounding factors of age, gender, educational level, perceived workload, job autonomy and decision latitude. The duration of an absence spell was defined as the amount of calendar days between sick leave and return to work. Results Global job satisfaction did not correlate significantly with the duration of short-term sickness absence. While increasing physical job demands predicted longer absence, increasing job autonomy and educational level predicted shorter absence. Satisfaction with colleagues predicted longer duration absence. Conclusion Global job satisfaction did not correlate with the duration of short-term absence spells, but specific satisfaction with colleagues was associated with longer sickness spells

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