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Is Work Disability More Common among Same-sex than Different-sex Married People? | OMICS International| Abstract
ISSN: 2161-1165

Epidemiology: Open Access
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  • Research Article   
  • Epidemiology (Sunnyvale) 2016, Vol 6(3): 242
  • DOI: 10.4172/2161-1165.1000242

Is Work Disability More Common among Same-sex than Different-sex Married People?

Charlotte Bjorkenstam*, Petter Tinghög, Susan Cochran, Gunnar Andersson, Kristina Alexanderson and Richard Branstrom
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, , Sweden
*Corresponding Author : Charlotte Bjorkenstam, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Sweden, Tel: 13236815170, Email:

Received Date: Apr 26, 2016 / Accepted Date: May 12, 2016 / Published Date: May 19, 2016


Background: Research has shown that sexual minority individuals have much higher risk of somatic and psychiatric morbidity as compared to heterosexual individuals. However, less is known whether this elevated level of poor health co-occurs with higher rates of work disability. Our aim was thus to examine the association between sexual orientation and risk of work disability.

Methods: Using Sweden’s nationwide registers, we used a cross-sectional design and compared prevalence of work disability, sickness absence and/or disability pension, between same-sex and different-sex married women and men for two years, 1998 and 2008, and calculated odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) while adjusting for several confounders.

Results: Higher risk of at least one day of work disability was found among same-sex married women in both 1998 (OR: 1.5, 95% CI: 1.2-1.8) and 2008 (OR: 1.3, 95% CI: 1.2-1.5), as compared to different-sex married women. Same-sex married women also had higher risk of work disability >90 days 1998 (OR: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.2-2.1) and 2008 (OR: 1.5, 95% CI: 1.3-1.7). Also, same-sex married men had higher risks, however somewhat lower in 2008, of at least one day of work disability (OR: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.5-1.8) and >90 days in 2008 (OR: 2.0, 95% CI: 1.7-2.3), as compared to different-sex married men.

Conclusion: This study provides novel results, demonstrating that the previously identified health disparity based on sexual orientation is also reflected in elevated levels of work disability among sexual minority women and men. This finding calls for research to identify the underlying mechanisms leading to this health disparity, and tailored prevention strategies both in clinical settings and on a broader societal level to remedy this health disadvantage.

Keywords: Work disability, LGB; Gay, Marriage, Sick-leave, Disability pension, Register

Citation: Bjorkenstam C, Tinghög P, Cochran S, Andersson G, Alexanderson K, et al. (2016) Is Work Disability More Common among Same-sex than Different-sex Married People?. Epidemiology (Sunnyvale) 6:242. Doi: 10.4172/2161-1165.1000242

Copyright: © 2016 Bjorkenstam C, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Review summary

  1. Barrick Smith
    Posted on Oct 03 2016 at 11:28 am
    The article is written and crafted stylistically and technically. The topic addressed is original and practically important. The level of morbidity associated with sexual orientation is a new aspect and needs to be addressed globally.