What is the association between sickness absence, mortality and morbidity?

Health Place. 2006 Dec;12(4):728-33. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2005.02.008.


This paper examines the area-level relationships in England and Wales between sickness absence ('incapacity benefit'), mortality and morbidity. It uses a random sample of incapacity benefit claims, and population counts of mortality and Census morbidity for local government districts. Although there is little correspondence between sickness absence claims by specific cause and mortality, all cause sickness absence has a strong relationship with all cause mortality (male r 0.74, p=0.00; female r 0.64, p=0.00) and it also has a very strong relationship with the Census measures of morbidity: LLTI (male r 0.98, p=0.00; female r 0.97, p=0.00) and 'not good health' (male r 0.99, p=0.00; female r 0.96, p=0.00). Incapacity benefit claims by all causes has the potential to provide an ongoing measure of area-level health in England and Wales.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Censuses
  • Data Collection
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Reporting
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity*
  • Mortality*
  • Sick Leave*
  • Wales