Hypertension and sickness absence: The role of perceived symptoms

Samuel Melamed, Paul Froom, Manfred S. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The association between perceived symptoms and absenteeism was examined in five groups of employed adults: normotensives, unaware hypertensives, aware and untreated hypertensives, aware and treated hypertensives, and falsely aware normotensives. Aware hypertensives (untreated and treated) and falsely aware normotensives had a higher average of perceived symptoms than normotensives, whereas unaware hypertensives had lower. The absenteeism rate across the groups showed a similar pattern. A significant interaction of perceived symptoms by study group on absenteeism was uncovered. Hypertensives and falsely aware normotensives who reported a low level of symptoms were not absent more than their normotensive counterparts. However, aware hypertensives and falsely aware normotensives who perceived a high symptoms level showed higher absenteeism than unaware hypertensives and normotensives with a similar level. This suggests that aware hypertensives have a greater tendency than both normotensives and unaware hypertensives to equate their symptoms with ill health and to act accordingly. Special attention should be directed to aware hypertensives who perceive a threat to their health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-487
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Committee of Preventive Action and Research in Occupational Health of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.


  • Absenteeism
  • Hypertension
  • Illness cognition
  • Labeling
  • Perceived health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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