Norwegian version

Explaining social patterns in sickness absence: the influence of values, attitudes and norms (SAVAN)

The project aims to study the influence of values, attitudes and norms on sickness absence.

Reducing sickness absence, in particular long-term sickness absence, is high on the political agenda, and by extension, finding the causes or mechanisms that lead to sickness absence. Research on risk factors for sickness absence indicate working conditions, family situation, and health status as core determinants. However, findings on the effects of different factors are far from conclusive. There remains a large "unexplained" element for sickness absence. Despite recognition in the scientific literature that values, attitudes and norms likely contribute to variations in sickness absence, empirical research on this topic is still relatively scarce.

The project aims to fill this knowledge gap by studying the influence of values, attitudes and norms on sickness absence, more particularly, their role in creating social patterns in sickness absence.

The project will utilize large-scale longitudinal survey data in combination with longitudinal register data, enabling us to apply a multidimensional and dynamic approach to the study of the interaction between values and attitudes with health, work and family factors in relation to sickness absence in different social groups. The project is also innovative in that we will conduct a vignette study with a survey experiment that will help us to analyze potential differences in norms concerning men and women's use of sickness absence.

Key research questions

  1. To what extent attitudes towards sickness absence vary across gender, age, socioeconomic position and place of residence?
  2. Which individual attitudes and values predict subsequent sickness absence and to what extent this impact differs across social groups?
  3. To what extent values and attitudes can help explain differences in the use of SA across social groups, alongside other explanatory variables such as health status, work situation and family situation?
  4. To what extent individuals' values and attitudes moderate the relationship between health status, work situation and family situation, and sickness absence?
  5. To what extent we find different norms for the use of sickness absence for men and women?