Gender equality in domestic work and sickness absence - a population-based study on women and men in Sweden

C. Staland-Nyman, I. Houkes, A. de Rijk, P. Verdonk, G. Hensing

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Division of domestic work by gender has been discussed as part of the explanation why women present a higher sickness absence rate than men. This study aimed to examine the association between gender equality in domestic work and sickness absence. Data from 2,609 co-habiting women and men (aged 19–64) collected in a general population in Sweden were used. Associations between different measures of gender equality in domestic work and numbers of sick-leave days were analyzed with logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, children, and paid work. Results show that women reported lower levels of gender equality than men did. Satisfaction with division of domestic work was in the final model associated with lower odds ratio (OR) for sickness absence in men irrespective of number of days. Work-family conflicts were associated with higher ORs for sickness absence in men, 1–7 sick-leave days (OR 1.51 (CI 1.04–2.18)), and in women, 8–30 days (OR 1.51 (1.00–2.33)). More knowledge on the meaning of gender equality in domestic work in relation to sickness absence for women and men are important for future prevention activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-336
Number of pages12
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Domestic work
  • gender equality
  • sickness absence
  • sweden

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