Workplace mistreatment and sickness absenteeism from work: Results from the 2010 National Health Interview survey

Authors

  • Abay G. Asfaw PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of the Director, Washington, District of Columbia
    • Correspondence to: Abay Asfaw, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of the Director, 395 E-Street, SW, Washington, DC 20201.

      E-mail: hqp0@cdc.gov

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  • Chia C. Chang MPH, MBA,

    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of the Director, Washington, District of Columbia
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  • Tapas K. Ray PhD

    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of the Director, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Disclosure Statement: We wish to confirm that there are no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication and there has been no financial support for this work that could have influenced its outcome.

Abstract

Objective

This study examined the association between workplace mistreatment and occurrence, duration, and costs of sickness absenteeism.

Methods

We used the 2010 National Health Interview Survey and considered 13,807 employed adult respondents. We used a zero-inflated negative binomial (zinb) model to examine the association between exposure to workplace mistreatment and the occurrence and number of workdays missed due to illness/injury in the preceding 12 months.

Results

In 2010, 7.6% of US workers employed at the time of the survey reported having been mistreated at their workplace. Both occurrence and duration of sickness absence were higher for mistreated than for non-mistreated workers. The zinb results showed that being mistreated was associated with a 42% increase in the number of missed workdays, controlling for covariates. The marginal effect analysis showed that lost workdays differed by 2.45 days between mistreated and non-mistreated workers. This implies that workplace mistreatment was associated with $4.1 billion, or 5.5%, of sickness absenteeism costs in 2010.

Conclusions

Workplace mistreatment is associated with sickness absence in the United States. While a causal relationship could not be established due to the cross-sectional design of the study, this study reveals the economic importance of developing workplace mistreatment prevention strategies. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:202–213, 2014. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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