Sick-leave due to minor psychiatric morbidity: role of sex integration

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During the years 1985–1987 all sick-leave spells exceeding 7 days, together with a number of demographic variables, were registered in a Swedish county. Using this register, the 3,100 employed persons with at least one sick-leave per year due to minor psychiatric morbidity were analysed with regard to age, occupation and sex. The annual cumulative incidence was 1.7% of the employed population. In 1985 the female incidence was 2.1% and the male incidence was 1.3%. Incidence was highest in the middle-aged. The mean number of absence days per sick-listed person was 73 in 1985. For women, the corresponding figure was 63 and for men, 82. Industrial occupations had the highest incidence and with few exceptions, women had a higher incidence than men in each occupation. Occupations were categorized into five groups according to the number of women and men employed. Women in extremely male-dominated occupations had the highest incidence of all groups, 4.6%. Men in extremely female-dominated occupations had the highest incidence of all men, 2.9%. Occupations with an equal sex distribution had the lowest sick-leave incidence, 1.2%. Further studies on the influence of sex integration on sickness absence need to be done.