Factors associated with sickness absence among employees with chronic conditions

L. Meng, K. T. Robinson, M. L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background The growing prevalence of chronic conditions in the ageing workforce has been shown to have a negative impact in terms of optimal work performance and quality of life. It is therefore important to understand the factors associated with sickness absence due to health problems. Aims To examine the socio-demographics, health status indicators, barriers to self-care and social support associated with working adults missing work because of chronic conditions. Methods We analysed data from working adults in the USA with one or more chronic conditions who completed the National Council on Aging (NCOA) Chronic Care Survey. Analyses were performed using SPSS version 22; independent sample t-tests and chi-squared tests were used to compare sample characteristics and logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with missed work as a dichotomous outcome variable. Results Among the 250 study subjects, employees who reported poorer general health status [odd ratio (OR) = 1.62, P < 0.05], more physician visits (OR = 1.45, P < 0.01), not having enough money for their health (OR = 3.69, P < 0.01) and a higher reliance on their co-workers (OR = 1.71, P < 0.05) were significantly more likely to report sickness absence due to their chronic conditions. Conclusions To reduce absences among employees with chronic conditions, employers need to understand the importance of factors such as employee income, resources and knowledge of disease self-care. US employers should explore opportunities for employees to offset health care costs, apply appropriate time-flexible work policies and encourage employees' participation in health knowledge enhancing interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberkqx028
Pages (from-to)296-300
Number of pages5
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Chronic disease
  • Health workplaces
  • Management policy
  • Workplace
  • Workplace health promotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors associated with sickness absence among employees with chronic conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this