Having a bad attitude? The relationship between attitudes and sickness absence

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Hauge, Karen Evelyn and Marte Eline Ulvestad




IZA Journal of Labor Policy

6(1), 1-27


Is sickness absence related to attitudes? Several studies point to attitudes as an important factor for sickness absence. We study the relation between sickness absence and attitudes towards possible reasons for sick leave, towards cheating and towards work, by linking a survey among Norwegian healthcare workers, aimed at identifying attitudes, to detailed data on sickness absence from the employers. We find that there is an association between sickness absence and certain attitudes but mainly for self-certified sick leave. Employees with more lenient attitudes towards sick leave have more self-certified sick leave, but not more GP-certified sick leave. Furthermore, we find no evidence of attitudes being able to explain the persistently observed differences is absenteeism between different demographic groups.


I1 I12 J01 J45


Norway Sickness absence Attitudes Absenteeism Demographic groups Gender Survey Healthcare sector


Oppdragsgiver: Norges forskningsråd
Oppdragsgivers prosjektnr.: 202647
Frisch prosjekt: 1173 - Work Life Challenges - workforce management and worker involvement solutions

Oppdragsgiver: Norges forskningsråd
Oppdragsgivers prosjektnr.: 227103
Frisch prosjekt: 4134 - Disentangling absence patterns