Cet article porte sur certains aspects de l'absentéisme en milieu hospitalier au Québec. L'intérêt principal ici réside dans la remise en question de certaines pratiques analytiques.
Absenteeism Among Hospital Employees in Québec: Some Sociodemographical and Cultural Aspects
Research on sociodemographical and cultural determinants of work absenteeism has been plagued with empirically inconsistent results. It has been suggested that the failure to analyze the data beyond a simple linear bivariate approach, as well as insufficient levels of aggregation (eg: individual without organizational units) is possibly responsible for the inconsistencies.
This study was designed to demonstrate these deficiencies. Although the study is limited in scope, an attempt has been made to compare and contrast the different results that could be obtained when a linear, as opposed to interactive, approach is used. And further, it raises many questions concerning the adequacy of published research which attributes absenteeism to sociodemographical characteristics without delving into the real complexity of this phenomenon.
Four hundred seven (407) subjects employed in six Québec hospitals, representing a wide variety of occupations, participated in this study. Personal and sociodemographical characteristics were obtained from questionnaires administered in the course of another research project carried out by the authors.
The results show a significant difference in absenteeism depending on the level and type of the analysis performed. For example, it is found that the mean absence rate for the ' 'Francophone hospitals" was significantly higher than that of the "Anglophone hospitals". Cultural reasons are advanced to explain these differences.
At the individual level of analysis, several findings emerge. First, it is shown that sex is an important determinant of absence behavior. Such finding is consistent with other published results, which point out that women have significantly higher rates of absence than men. Yet, when further analysis is undertaken, the concomitant effects of other related sociodemographic variables are more clearly revealed. For example, married women are absent more often than single women while the opposite tendency is found for men. The combined effect of sex and marital status may point to an explanation of absenteeism in terms of "family social responsibility". This explanation differs from that which might be advanced based on the simple analysis of each of these variables treated independently. Further, bivariate analysis of absence by the level of education, shows an inverse relationship between these two variables. However, when the same analysis is repeated, adjusting for sex, it is found that women have systematically higher rates of absence in each category of education. Other relationships found for income, age and absenteeism are also discussed in the text.
The implications of the results are discussed in terms of a research strategy for the conduct of a sociodemographical and cultural study of absenteeism.