Research investigating frequent sickness absence (3 or more episodes per year) is scarce and qualitative research from the perspective of frequent absentees themselves is lacking. The aim of the current study is to explore awareness, determinants of and solutions to frequent sickness absence from the perspective of frequent absentees themselves.
We performed a qualitative study of 3 focus group discussions involving a total of 15 frequent absentees. Focus group discussions were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Results were analyzed with the Graneheim method using the Job Demands Resources (JD-R) model as theoretical framework.
Many participants were not aware of their frequent sickness absence and the risk of future long-term sickness absence. As determinants, participants mentioned job demands, job resources, home demands, poor health, chronic illness, unhealthy lifestyles, and diminished feeling of responsibility to attend work in cases of low job resources. Managing these factors and improving communication (skills) were regarded as solutions to reduce frequent sickness absence.
The JD-R model provided a framework for determinants of and solutions to frequent sickness absence. Additional determinants were poor health, chronic illness, unhealthy lifestyles, and diminished feeling of responsibility to attend work in cases of low job resources. Frequent sickness absence should be regarded as a signal that something is wrong. Managers, supervisors, and occupational health care providers should advise and support frequent absentees to accommodate job demands, increase both job and personal resources, and improve health rather than express disapproval of frequent sickness absence and apply pressure regarding work attendance.
- 2 PREDICTION MODELS
- WORK ENGAGEMENT
- JOB DEMANDS