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BMC Public Health

, 10:791

First Online: 29 December 2010Received: 30 July 2010Accepted: 29 December 2010DOI: 10.1186-1471-2458-10-791

Cite this article as: Agudelo-Suárez, A.A., Benavides, F.G., Felt, E. et al. BMC Public Health 2010 10: 791. doi:10.1186-1471-2458-10-791


BackgroundPrevious studies have shown that immigrant workers face relatively worse working and employment conditions, as well as lower rates of sickness absence than native-born workers. This study aims to assess rates of sickness presenteeism in a sample of Spanish-born and foreign-born workers according to different characteristics.

MethodsA cross-sectional survey was conducted amongst a convenience sample of workers Spanish-born and foreign-born, living in four Spanish cities: Barcelona, Huelva, Madrid and Valencia 2008-2009. Sickness presenteeism information was collected through two items in the questionnaire -Have you had health problems in the last year?- and -Have you ever had to miss work for any health problem?- and was defined as worker who had a health problem answered yes, first item and had not missed work answered no, second item. For the analysis, the sample of 2,059 workers 1,617 foreign-born who answered yes to health problems was included. After descriptives, logistic regressions were used to establish the association between origin country and sickness presenteeism adjusted odds ratios aOR; 95% confidence interval 95%CI. Analyses were stratified per time spent in Spain among foreign-born workers.

ResultsAll of the results refer to the comparison between foreign-born and Spanish-born workers as a whole, and in some categories relating to personal and occupational conditions. Foreign-born workers were more likely to report sickness presenteeism compared with their Spanish-born counterparts, especially those living in Spain for under 2 years Prevalence: 42% in Spanish-born and 56.3% in Foreign-born; aOR 1.77 95%CI 1.24-2.53. In case of foreign-born workers with time in Spain < 2 years, men aOR 2.31 95%CI 1.40-3.80, those with university studies aOR 3.01 95%CI 1.04-8.69, temporary contracts aOR 2.26 95%CI 1.29-3.98 and salaries between 751-1,200€ per month aOR 1.74 95% CI 1.04-2.92 were more likely to report sickness presenteeism. Also, recent immigrants with good self-perceived health and good mental health were more likely to report presenteeism than Spanish-born workers with the same good health indicators.

ConclusionsImmigrant workers report more sickness presenteeism than their Spanish-born counterparts. These results could be related to precarious work and employment conditions of immigrants. Immigrant workers should benefit from the same standards of social security, and of health and safety in the workplace that are enjoyed by Spanish workers.

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Autor: Andrés A Agudelo-Suárez - Fernando G Benavides - Emily Felt - Elena Ronda-Pérez - Carmen Vives-Cases - Ana M García


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