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Absenteeism and Presenteeism Associated With Common Health Conditions in Brazilian Workers

Baptista, Marcos C., MD, MBA, MSc; Burton, Wayne N., MD; Nahas, Andressa Kutschenko, MSc; Wang, Yuan-Pang, PhD; Viana, Maria Carmen, PhD; Andrade, Laura Helena, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2019 - Volume 61 - Issue 4 - p 303–313
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001538

Background: This study describes the effects of common health conditions associated with absenteeism and presenteeism in a population-based sample of workers in Brazil.

Methods: Data were analyzed from the cross-sectional São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey on 1737 employed residents aged more than 18 years old conducted from 2005 to 2007.

Results: Physical diseases and mental disorders are highly prevalent among Brazilian workers. The prevalence of absenteeism was 12.8%, and the prevalence of presenteeism was 14.3%. The condition most commonly associated with work impairment was mood disorder.

Conclusions: Improving access to care and increasing detection and management of mental disorders should be a priority in Brazil. Occupational health programs and services can play a key role in increasing the productivity of the Brazilian workforce.

Department and Institute of Psychiatry, University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil (Dr Baptista, Dr Wang, and Dr Andrade); University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL (Dr Burton); Public Health School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (Ms Nahas); Department of Social Medicine, Federal University of Espirito Santo, Brazil (Dr Viana).

Address correspondence to: Laura Helena Andrade, PhD, Rua Dr. Ovídio Pires de Campos, 785 CEP 05403-010 São Paulo, SP, Brazil (

Clinical significance: We reported that physical and mental diseases are highly prevalent among Brazilian workers. The impact on productivity is proven. Health and productivity approach may be used in Brazil. The high prevalence and big impact of mental disorders mean that mental health must be part of country's OEM.

The São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey was financed by the State of São Paulo Research Foundation, Brazil (FAPESP Grant 03/00204-3, more details at The development of the instrument was supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology of Vitoria, Espírito Santo, Brazil (Fundo de Apoio à Ciência e Tecnologia do Município de Vitória - FACITEC 002/2003). The São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey is executed in conjunction with the World Health Organization World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine