Objective: We sought to determine how do working life and private life characteristics relate to sickness absence.
Methods: Questionnaire data for 1557 female and 1913 male employees were related to registered sickness absence by multivariate analyses.
Results: Apart from health problems, clear associations with sickness absence were observed for complaints attributed to heavy, arduous work, and sickness presenteeism. The use of tranquilizers, occurrence of bullying, and the existence of a high total workload from paid and unpaid work were associated with sickness absence in women. In men, the use of alcohol as sedative, anxiety of reorganization, not holding a supervisor position, adverse life events, and divorce were related with sickness absence.
Conclusions: Our study identified different areas at work and outside work for women and men that could be targets for actions aiming at preventing high sickness absence.