Work-Related Burden of Absenteeism, Presenteeism, and Disability: An Epidemiologic and Economic Perspective

  • Marnie DobsonEmail author
  • Peter SchnallEmail author
  • Ellen Rosskam
  • Paul Landsbergis
Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbook Series in Occupational Health Sciences book series (HDBSOHS, volume 1)


As noncommunicable chronic diseases rise in prevalence globally, so are the years individuals are living with disability, particularly disability resulting from mental health disorders such as depression, musculoskeletal disorders, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The psychosocial work environment including work-related psychosocial stressors, such as high demands, low job control (job strain), effort-reward imbalance, low social support, work-life conflict, bullying, and harassment, are significant contributors to these disorders, as well as to disability pensions, sickness absence, and presenteeism. These outcomes represent a substantial financial burden to workers, organizations, and societies. While many high-income countries provide social protection programs, including universal health care and state disability pensions that help to mitigate the burden of chronic disease on the worker, the USA has a very limited social safety net. Additionally, the USA is one of the few remaining high-income countries that do not officially recognize work-related psychosocial risks, which would require employers to identify and reduce psychosocial hazards to the same extent as other occupational hazards. Recognition by employers as well as by health policy-makers in the USA, that psychosocial risks pose a significant health and financial burden, is necessary.


Psychosocial work stressors Chronic illness Disability Absenteeism Presenteeism Costs Productivity Sick leave Workers’ compensation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Occupational and Environmental HealthUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Center for Social EpidemiologyLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.SUNY Downstate School of Public HealthBrooklynUSA

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