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The aim was to analyse the role of psychiatric disorders in sick-leave in different sick-leave diagnoses.
A stratified population-based sample of women (n=292) in Göteborg were interviewed, and diagnoses were made according to DSM–III–R. Sick-leave data, including diagnoses, were obtained for two years.
Women with psychiatric disorders had an increased number of sick-leave spells and sick-leave days in all the sick-leave diagnostic groups. The largest differences between the two groups of women were found in mental disorders, diseases of the locomotor system and gastro-intestinal diseases. The association between psychiatric disorders and sick-leave was strongest in older age groups.
Unrecognised psychiatric disorders associated with an increased number of medical complaints and visits can be an important factor in the increase in sick-leave.
Women take sick-leave more often than men, both in general and because of psychiatric disorders. The aim of the present study was to introduce the new dimension of sick-leave duration in the analysis of gender differences in minor psychiatric disorders.
A population-based register was used which included all sick-leave spells exceeding seven consecutive days, 1985–1987, in a Swedish county.
Sick-leave duration was longer for men. The greatest gender differences were found in the youngest and oldest age-groups. Women had higher incidence also in the longest spells. An increase in duration over the three years was found among women, leading to decreased gender differences.
Contrary to other studies on minor psychiatric disorders, small gender differences were found. It is suggested that sick-leave duration can be used as a quantitative measure of health-related working capacity.
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