The study More restrictive doctors or a more healthy population?, is an analysis of a decrease in the absence of sickness in 1994 in a community with 5,000 inhabitants, located in Buskerud county, Norway. A variety of methods were used to illustrate possible contributing factors. Among possible local causes of the decrease is the work at the local national Insurance Office. Every person judged to be at risk for long-term absence from work due to illness was followed up in a close cooperation with the local doctors. As a result, the doctors became more conscious of their work in connection with certified sick leave and adopted a more restrictive attitude towards absence from work because of illness. This study has provided information and experience of interest to the local health services, the public health services and the National Insurance Offices.