The aim of this cross-sectional, observational study was to determine the impact of self-reported headache on absenteeism and presenteeism in a female working-age population.
The study population consisted of 594 Finnish female municipal employees, who answered self-administered questionnaires including sociodemographic, lifestyle, health, and work-related data. Sickness absence days were obtained from the official records of the employer. Headache recurrence was defined by asking whether headache was occasional or recurrent. Headache impact was measured by the HIT-6.
In our study, 456 (77%) females had headache, and headache was recurrent in 178 (39%). The self-reported recurrence of headache was related to age, AUDIT-C, health-rated quality-of-life, self-rated work ability, depressive symptoms, and work stress ( P for linearity <0.001). They also had more depressive symptoms and work stress ( P for linearity <0.001). Mental work load was highest in those with recurrent headache ( P=0.042), and work engagement was highest in those without headache ( P=0.038). There was no statistically significant difference in absenteeism days between the headache groups when adjusted with confounding variables. Presenteeism was associated with the recurrence of headache ( P for linearity <0.001). Presenteeism and the HIT-6 score were significantly associated in the recurrent headache group ( P=0.009).