The impact of the HDI on the association of psychosocial work demands with sickness absence and presenteeism.Eur J Public Health 2014; 24(5):856-61EJ
The purpose of this study was to determine whether psychosocial work demands have a different impact on sickness absence and presenteeism in countries with a high vs. countries with a low Human Development Index (HDI).
This article is based on an analysis of the fifth European Working Conditions Survey. We investigated single items as well as complex constructs and indices. Sickness absence and presenteeism were measured as outcome variables. Following the model of Karasek and Theorell, we measured the HDI at the macro level and psychosocial job demands at the micro level as independent variables.
The multivariate multilevel analysis reveals a significant association between the HDI and the number of days recorded for sickness absence. In countries with a higher HDI, people report a lower number of days with sickness absence. Higher psychosocial job demands are associated with poorer health. There are significant cross-level interaction effects between psychosocial job demands and the HDI for these associations. Psychosocial job demands are stronger associated with sickness absence and presenteeism in high-HDI than in low-HDI countries.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH
We argue that Public Health Actions that are connected to work characteristics need to take into consideration the level of HDI of the countries. In low- and high-HDI countries, different actions could be necessary to reach the needs of the working population.