Stockholm University
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Sick leave in Sweden following separation among parents

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posted on 2023-07-31, 09:17 authored by Anna-Karin NylinAnna-Karin Nylin

Leaning upon the assumption that separation poses both economic and emotional strain for the individuals involved and can be detrimental to one’s health, this study explores whether separation increases the use of sick leave for mothers and fathers in Sweden and how this relationship varies over the years around the separation. By relying on register data covering all married or cohabiting parents in Sweden with a youngest child below 18 in 2005–2020, I distinguish those who separate sometime between 2009 and 2012. A panel approach that covers couples longitudinally allows me to track sick leave from 3 years before separation, during the separation year, and for 8 years after separation and compare sick leave levels between separating and partnered parents. To disentangle possible causal effects from selection effects in relation to separation, within-group variation has been exploited using FE methods. Overall, the study indicates that both selection mechanisms and causal effects from separation can explain parents’ sick leave uptake both temporarily and over a longer period. Sick leave patterns following the separation show that mothers experience both a temporary peak during the separation year and cumulatively growing sick leave rates compared to partnered mothers thereafter, whereas fathers, especially those with primary education, have steady but elevated long-term sick leave rates compared to partnered fathers.


the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE), grant 2015-01139

the Swedish Research Council, grant 2015-013191




Original title

Sick leave in Sweden following separation among parents

Original language

  • English

Publication date


Affiliation (institution of first SU-affiliated author)

  • 310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology


  • public