Motives for sickness presence among students at secondary school: a cross-sectional study in five European countries
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMJ Open. 2018, 8 . 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019337
Objectives This article investigates various motives for sickness presence (SP) among students in secondary school. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting 25 secondary schools in Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Italy and Latvia. Participants 5002 students between 16 and 19 years of age, 49% female. Results Almost half of the students reported two or more incidents of SP. The study indicated that the practice of SP was mainly extrinsically motivated. The most often reported motives for SP were that absence could affect grades negatively, that important curriculum material was explained at the school and attendance requirements. Some students practising SP expressed intrinsic motivation, such as maintaining their social network and interest in what was learnt at school. Conclusion The study investigated various motives for SP in secondary schools in five European countries. Extrinsic motivation for SP was more often reported than intrinsic motivation for SP. Multivariate analyses indicated that boys, students in vocational education, immigrants and students with low-educated parents more often reported intrinsic motivation for SP, while girls and students with high absence more often reported extrinsic motivation. There were also notable cross-country differences regarding reported motives for SP.