Sickness allowance trajectories preceding disability retirement: a register-based retrospective study

Eur J Public Health. 2016 Dec;26(6):1050-1055. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckw081. Epub 2016 Jun 21.


Objectives: To identify subgroups of disability retirees with different pre-retirement sickness allowance histories and to examine whether the diagnosis of disability pension and socio-demographic variables discriminate these subgroups.

Methods: The data included all Finnish residents aged 30-64 years who were granted a full disability pension in 2011 (N = 17 208). Sickness allowance trajectories during the preceding 10 years were searched using latent trajectory analysis. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to explore determinants of the trajectories.

Results: Six distinct sickness allowance trajectories were identified. Four large subgroups with a long sickness allowance period during the final pre-retirement year were found, characterized by increasing (29% of retirees), early high (21%), stable low (24%) or stable high (16%) sickness allowance histories. In addition, two small subgroups (6 and 4%) with only a little sickness allowance during the final year were identified. The diagnosis of disability pension strongly influenced assignment to the trajectory groups. Women were more likely to have followed the stable high or the early high sickness allowance trajectory. Older age strongly increased but being a lower non-manual employee or self-employed decreased the probability of belonging to the two small trajectory groups. Long-term unemployment slightly increased belonging to the stable low trajectory and was strongly associated with the small subgroups with little or no sickness allowance during the final year preceding retirement.

Conclusions: Different pre-retirement sickness allowance trajectories can be found. Assignment to the trajectories differed by the diagnosis of disability pension but associations with socio-demographic variables were weak.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pensions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Security / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors