Presentation T O25

T O25 (Oral Presentation):
Sickness absence and subsequent disposable income

Presented by: Michael Hans Gunnar Wiberg


Wiberg M1,2, Friberg E1, Palmer E2,3, Stenbeck M1

  1. Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Insurance Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.
  2. Department of Analysis and Prognosis, Statistical Analysis Unit, Swedish Social Insurance Agency, Stockholm.
  3. Uppsala Department of Economics and Center for Labor Studies, Sweden.



Previous studies have shown negative associations between sickness absence (SA) and earnings in subsequent years. This may be due to lingering disability in the individual or to factors tied to the work situation. But there are also other factors that may influence the individual’s overall economic situation, e.g. family situation and public transfers. The total income is measured as disposable income, which may therefore be a preferable measure when aiming to describe economic ability for consumption rather than the labour market status. However, little is known about disposable income for years following an episode of SA. The aim of this study was to evaluate individuals’ income from all sources following SA and to examine if the potential association between SA and disposable income differs depending on diagnosis or the duration of the SA-spell


A prospective cohort study based on linked individual level register data including all individuals living in Sweden in 2005. Each year of follow-up was estimated with regressions in three different forms of exposures: SA (yes/no), by diagnosis (cancer, circulatory, injuries, musculoskeletal, neurological, mental, “other”) and by duration, in days, of the SA-spell spell (15-29, 30-89, 90-179, >179). Disposable income was measured 2 to 6 years after a SA-spell and compared to a reference group.


SA during 2005 was associated with approximately 5% lower disposable income in the subsequent years compared to those without SA 2005. The estimated associations between SA and income were similar across SA diagnoses, with the exception of mental diagnoses which were followed by considerably lower (up to 9%) income levels during the follow-up periods than other diagnoses, and cancer diagnoses where only minor differences were observed. Further, income was negatively associated with the duration of the SA-spell. The longest spell was associated with up to 20% lower levels of disposable income compared with those without SA 2005. In most cases, the differences increased with time.


SA was associated with lower subsequent disposable income 2-6 years after the SA-spells. Furthermore, the associations were strongest for mental diagnoses and longer SA-spell.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
15:45 - 17:30 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (T O25 - T O38 and Seminar 6)
Session: Work Disability trajectories
Room B