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The prevalence of work-related stress, and its association to self perceived health and sick leave, in a cohort of employed Swedish women, in 2004 – 2005

Conference paper
Authors Kristina Holmgren
Synneve Dahlin-Ivanoff
Cecilia Björkelund
Gunnel Hensing
Published in Eur J Public Health
Volume 18
Pages 130-223
Publication year 2008
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 130-223
Language en
Keywords Prevalence, work-related stress, self-reported health, sick-leave, population study
Subject categories Public health medicine research areas


Background: In order to determine the need for preventive steps decreasing the development of sick leave in women it is of great concern to know more about women’s work-related stress. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of work-related stress and its association with self perceived health and sick leave in a population of employed Swedish women. Methods: This cross-sectional population study of women comprised 424 employed, working women who answered questionnaires concerning work-related stress, self perceived health and sick leave. The odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) was calculated in order to analyze the association between the exposure variables of work-related stress and outcome variables of ill health symptoms, self-rated health and sick leave. Results: Ten percent of the entire group reported an overall high perceived stress due to organization and conflicts and 25% an overall high perceived stress due to individual demands and commitment. Twenty-two percent reported low influence at work and 33 % reported work to spare time interference. All categories of work-related stress was significantly associated with an increased odds of high level of symptoms of ill health, with the highest OR for high perceived stress due to organization and conflicts and perceived stress due to individual demands and commitment with an OR of 3.17 (1.51 – 6.62 ) and 4.53 (2.71 – 7.56) respectively. High perceived stress due to organization and conflicts and low influence at work was significantly associated with sick leave with an OR of 3.85 (CI=1.59 – 9.30) and 2.54 (CI=1.17 – 5.48) respectively. Conclusions: There was a strong association between on one hand work-related stress, on the other symptoms of illness and sick leave. These findings give us an implication that work-related stress is an important public health issue among a general population of Swedish employed women.

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