Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 17–22 | Cite as

Sickness Presenteeism Among Swedish Police Officers

  • Constanze Leineweber
  • Hugo Westerlund
  • Jan Hagberg
  • Pia Svedberg
  • Marita Luokkala
  • Kristina Alexanderson


Introduction The aim was to describe the prevalence of sickness presenteeism (SP) and to explore possible associations with work characteristics among Swedish police officers. Methods Questionnaire data from 11,793 police officers were analysed. Relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for SP were calculated with modified Poisson regression. SP was defined as having gone to work on two or more occasions during the past 12 months despite judging that one’s health would have motivated sickness absence. Results Of the police officers, 47% reported SP. All studied work environment factors were significantly associated with SP. The strongest association was found for stress (RR = 1.46; 95% CI: 1.41–1.52). Low support from colleagues and low control had higher impact on the risk estimates for SP among older subjects. Adjustment for self-rated health lowered the RRs, however, estimates remained statistically significant. The results indicated that SP was most affected by work environment among subjects with good self-rated health. Conclusions SP was high among police officers. Work environment factors seem to be associated with SP, particularly among subjects with good general health.


Police officers Sickness presence Work 



This study was financially supported by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research and the National Police Board. All authors are independent from their funders.

Conflict of interest statement

All authors declare that the answer to the questions on your competing interest form are all No and therefore have nothing to declare.


  1. 1.
    Stewart WF, Ricci JA, Chee E, Morganstein D. Lost productive work time costs from health conditions in the United States: results from the American Productivity Audit. J Occup Environ Med. 2003;45(12):1234–46.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hemp P. Presenteeism: at work–but out of it. Harv Bus Rev. 2004;82(10):49–58, 155.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mattke S, Balakrishnan A, Bergamo G, Newberry SJ. A review of methods to measure health-related productivity loss. Am J Manag Care. 2007;13(4):211–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Loeppke R, Taitel M, Richling D, Parry T, Kessler RC, Hymel P, et al. Health and productivity as a business strategy. J Occup Environ Med. 2007;49(7):712–21.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Schultz AB, Edington DW. Employee health and presenteeism: a systematic review. J Occup Rehabil. 2007;17:547–79.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Vingard E, Alexanderson K, Norlund A. Swedish council on technology assessment in health care (SBU). Chapter 9. Consequences of being on sick leave. Scand J Public Health Suppl. 2004;63:207–15.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kivimäki M, Head J, Ferrie J, Hemingway H, Shipley M, Vahtera J, et al. Working while ill as a risk factor for serious coronary events: the Whitehall II prospective cohort study. Am J Public Health. 2005;95:98–102.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bergstrom G, Bodin L, Hagberg J, Aronsson G, Josephson M. Sickness presenteeism today, sickness absenteeism tomorrow? A prospective study on sickness presenteeism and future sickness absenteeism. J Occup Environ Med. 2009;51(6):629–38.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bergstrom G, Bodin L, Hagberg J, Lindh T, Aronsson G, Josephson M. Does sickness presenteeism have an impact on future general health? Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2009;82(10):1179–90.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hansen CD, Andersen JH. Sick at work—a risk factor for long-term sickness absence at a later date? J Epidemiol Community Health. 2009;63(5):397–402.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    SCB. Andel av de sysselsatta enl. arbetsmiljöundersökningen för vald arbetsmiljöfråga efter kön, ålder och socioekonomisk indelning SEI. År 1997–2007 (Percentage of employed acc. to the Swedish Work Environment Survey for selected question by sex, age and socio-economic classification SEI. Year 1997–2007). Arbetsmiljöundersökning (Work Environment Survey). Örebro: SCB (Statistics Sweden); 2009.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Aronsson G, Gustafsson K. Sickness presenteeism: prevalence, attendance-pressure factors, and an outline of a model for research. J Occup Environ Med. 2005;47(9):958–66.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hansen CD, Andersen JH. Going ill to work–what personal circumstances, attitudes and work-related factors are associated with sickness presenteeism? Soc Sci Med. 2008;67(6):956–64.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Caveley N, Cunningham JB, MacGregor JN. Sickness presenteeism, sickness absenteeism, and health following restructuring in a public service organization. J Manag Stud. 2007;44(304–319).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Elstad JI, Vabo M. Job stress, sickness absence and sickness presenteeism in Nordic elderly care. Scand J Public Health. 2008;36(5):467–74.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    de Vroome E. Eurofound: prevalence of sickness absence and ‘presenteeism’ European foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions, 2006.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Aronsson G, Gustafsson K, Dallner M. Sick but yet at work. An empirical study of sickness presenteeism. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2000;54:502–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Vingard E, Alexanderson K, Norlund A. Swedish council on technology assessment in health care (SBU). Chapter 10. Sickness presence. Scand J Public Health Suppl. 2004;63:216–21.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Arbetsmiljöverket. Poliser (Polices). Korta arbetsskadefakta (Short facts about work injury). Solna: Arbetsmiljöverket (Swedish Work Environment Authority), 2009.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Vilhelmsson B. Poliser (Polices). Korta sifferfakta (Short facts in numbers). Solna: Arbetsmiljöverket (Swedish Work Environment Authority), 2003.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Körlin J, Alexanderson K, Svedberg P. Sickness absence among women and men in the police: a systematic literature review. Scand J Public Health. 2008;37(3):310–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    SCB (Statistics Sweden). SCB:s analysmodell med Nöjd-Medarbetar-Index. Medarbetarna om sin arbetssituation. (Statistics Sweden analytic model with satisfied-employee-index. The employees about their work situation). In: Polisen (The Police), editor, 2007.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Polisens årsredovisning (Annual report of the Swedish Police, in Swedish). In: Rikspolisstyrelsen (The National Police Board), editor, 2007.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Manor O, Matthews S, Power C. Dichotomous or categorical response? Analysing self-rated health and lifetime social class. Int J Epidemiol. 2000;29(1):149–57.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Svedberg P, Bardage C, Sandin S, Pedersen NL. A prospective study of health, life-style and psychosocial predictors of self-rated health. Eur J Epidemiol. 2006;21(10):767–76.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Zou G. A modified poisson regression approach to prospective studies with binary data. Am J Epidemiol. 2004;159(7):702–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hosmer D, Lemeshow S. Applied logistic regression. New York: Wiley; 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Johansson G, Lundberg I. Adjustment latitude and attendance requirements as determinants of sickness absence or attendance. Empirical tests of the illness flexibility model. Soc Sci Med. 2004;58(10):1857–68.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Nyberg A, Westerlund H, Magnusson Hanson L, Theorell T. Managerial leadership is associated with self-reported sickness absence and sickness presenteeism among Swedish men and women. Scand J Public Health. 2008;36:803–11.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constanze Leineweber
    • 1
  • Hugo Westerlund
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Hagberg
    • 2
  • Pia Svedberg
    • 2
  • Marita Luokkala
    • 1
  • Kristina Alexanderson
    • 2
  1. 1.Stress Research InstituteStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Division of Insurance Medicine, Department of Clinical NeuroscienceKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations