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Regional trends in awards of incapacity benefit by cause

Cattrell, A., Harris, E. C., Palmer, K. T., Kim, M., Aylward, Mansel and Coggon, D. 2011. Regional trends in awards of incapacity benefit by cause. Occupational Medicine 61 (3) , pp. 148-151. 10.1093/occmed/kqr008

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Background Since the early 1990s, rates of incapacity benefit (IB) in Britain for musculoskeletal complaints have declined, and they have been overtaken by mental and behavioural disorders as the main reason for award of IB. Aims To explore reasons for this change. Methods Using data supplied by the Department for Work and Pensions, we analysed trends in the ratio of new IB awards for mental and behavioural disorders to those for musculoskeletal disorders during 1997–2007 by Government region. Results In Great Britain overall, the above ratio more than doubled over the study period, as a consequence of falling numbers of new awards for musculoskeletal disorders. The extent to which the ratio increased was smallest in London (50%) and South-East England (56%), and was progressively larger in more northerly regions (>150% in North-East England and Scotland). Conclusions The differences in trends between regions seem too large to be explained by differential changes in working conditions, patterns of employment or the rigour with which claims were assessed. An alternative explanation could be that the main driver for the trends has been culturally determined changes in health beliefs and expectations, and that these cultural changes began in London and the South-East, only later spreading to other parts of Britain.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: Health beliefs ; Incapacity ; Mental ; Musculoskeletal ; Social security ; Trends
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0962-7480
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:52

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