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Good Housekeeping
Jennifer Chan, Assistant Managing Editor
April 19, 2012

Long-Term Sick Leave Linked to Childhood Cognitive Ability

Research shows that people with high cognitive ability as children are less likely to file for long-term sick leaves. By Jennifer Chan

Filing a leave from work is usually more about the number of days it takes for you to recover from an illness and less about being unwell in the first place. If you don’t usually file for long-term sick leaves (pegged at six months), research indicates that you might have had a higher cognitive ability when you were young compared to other kids your age. The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, used data from over 30,000 people in Britain. 

Researchers focused on people who were born in 1946, 1958, and 1970 and studied their participants’ cognitive ability at ages 10 or 11. Their verbal and non-verbal skills were tested; their arithmetic, pronunciation, and vocabulary prowess were also measured. Results revealed that those with higher cognitive ability were less likely to file for long-term sick leaves compared to those with lower cognitive ability.

Sick leaves are not good for the employee, the employer, and the economy in general. Researchers believe that by focusing on matters beyond health and employment issues and by training employees for better communication and problem-solving skills, fewer people will file for long-term sick leaves. 


(Photo by notemily via Flickr Creative Commons)

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Jennifer Chan
Assistant Managing Editor
Jennifer Chan was a contributing writer for Female Network for two years before formally joining the team as a staff writer in July 2012... Read more...
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