Absenteeism due to voice disorders in female teachers: a public health problem

  • Adriane Mesquita de MedeirosEmail author
  • Ada Ávila Assunção
  • Sandhi Maria Barreto
Original Article



This study estimates the prevalence of absenteeism due to voice disorders among teachers and investigates individual and contextual factors associated with it.


The study involved 1,980 teachers from 76 municipal schools. The response rate was 85%. The survey was carried out between May 2004 and July 2005 using a self-administered structured questionnaire containing sociodemographic, lifestyle, health, and work-related questions. The dependent variable was obtained from answers to the following question: In the last 2 weeks, have you missed work because of voice problems? Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the associated factors.


Voice-related absenteeism in the prior 2 weeks was reported by 66 teachers (3.35%). During their entire careers, approximately one-third of teachers missed work at least once due to voice problems. In the final model, factors associated with recent absenteeism were as follows: witnessing violence by students or parents one or more times (OR = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.14–3.90), presence of depression or anxiety (OR = 2.03; 95% CI = 1.09–3.78), upper respiratory problems in the prior 2 weeks (OR = 2.85; 95% CI = 1.53–5.29), and absenteeism because of voice problems during the preceding 6 months (OR = 15.79; 95% CI = 8.18–30.45).


The results encourage new approaches to the problems of absenteeism in the educational sector and contribute to addressing the weaknesses of economic and administrative approaches to the phenomenon.


Absenteeism Voice disorders Teacher Associated factors Teaching profession Occupational health 



This study was undertaken with support from the Research Support Foundation of the Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG), process number 4281-5.06/2007. Prof. Assunção and Prof. Barreto receive research scholarships from the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriane Mesquita de Medeiros
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ada Ávila Assunção
    • 1
  • Sandhi Maria Barreto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social and Preventive MedicineFederal University of Minas Gerais, UFMGBelo HorizonteBrazil

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