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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2014 May;87(4):433-43. doi: 10.1007/s00420-013-0882-9. Epub 2013 May 16.

Chronic health conditions and work ability in the ageing workforce: the impact of work conditions, psychosocial factors and perceived health.

Author information

  • 1Department of Health Sciences, Community and Occupational Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, FA10, Room 621, 9713 AV, Groningen, The Netherlands, w.koolhaas@umcg.nl.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The aim of this study was to determine the influence of work conditions, psychosocial factors and perceived health on the association between the presence of a chronic health condition and (single-item) work ability among workers aged 45 years and older. In addition, we aimed to examine variables associated with work ability for workers with and without a chronic health condition separately.

METHODS:

The data of this cross-sectional study were obtained from 5,247 workers aged 45 years and older in five different work sectors. Work ability was assessed with the first item of the Work Ability Index. The presence of a chronic health condition was assessed by self-report. Independent variables in the multivariable linear regression analysis were work conditions, psychosocial factors and perceived health status.

RESULTS:

The presence of a chronic health condition was negatively associated with work ability (B = -0.848). The strength of this association slightly attenuated after subsequently adding individual characteristics (B = -0.824), work conditions (B = -0.805) and more so after adding psychosocial factors (B = -0.704) and especially perceived health variables (B = -0.049) to the model. Variables associated with work ability for workers with and without a chronic health condition were similar.

CONCLUSION:

Perceived health and psychosocial factors, rather than work conditions, explained the association between the presence of a chronic health condition and work ability. Substantial differences in variables associated with work ability for workers with and without a chronic health condition were not found. Based on the lower mean scores for workers with a chronic health condition and work ability as well for predictors, these workers might have the most benefit by a policy focussing on enhancing these associated variables.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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