Aim: A study was undertaken to ascertain whether the differences in risk in relation to gender and citizenship observed in a previous study of the same cohort would remain if more recent data on sickness absence were used.
Methods: This was an 11-year prospective population-based cohort study. The dataset includes all individuals in a Swedish city who, in 1985, were aged 25-34 and had a sick-leave spell > or = 28 days with neck, shoulder, or back diagnoses (n=213). The data covered the following: for 1985-96, disability pension, emigration, and death; for 1982-96, sickness absence; for 1985, sex and citizenship. The data were subjected to Cox regression analyses with a time-dependent covariate.
Results: Disability pension was granted to 22% (n=46) of the cohort. The relative risk for disability pension increased by 9.3 with each sick-leave spell > or = 90 days during the two previous years. The risk was higher for women than men, and also higher for foreign citizens than Swedes.
Conclusion: Many studies have revealed a gender difference in the risk of being on disability pension, and it was found that this difference was still apparent when sick leave during the follow-up period is taken into account. Thus, the reason for the gender differences ought to be found among other factors than prior levels of sickness absence.
Copyright 2004 Taylor & Francis