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Disabil Rehabil. 2000 Mar 20;22(5):225-32.

A national survey of health-related work limitations among employed persons in the United States.

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The Health Institute, New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



To estimate the total prevalence of health-related work limitations among working people in the United States (US) as well as their condition-specific prevalence.


A new questionnaire measuring limitations in ability to perform specific work demands was administered to 940 employed people in a national household survey. The prevalence of specific work limitations is reported as are condition-specific risk estimates (odds ratios) based on logistic regression.


In the US, 19.3% of working people (CI = 14.0, 24.6) were limited in their abilities to perform physical work demands; 24.1% (CI = 18.9, 29.2) were limited in performing psychosocial work demands; and 13.8% (CI = 8.3, 19.3) were limited in their abilities to function without difficulty within the ambient work environment. With successive increments in the number of conditions, the odds of having a limitation increased significantly.


This study contributes new information concerning the implications of chronic health problems for working people and the significant risks for workers with multiple chronic conditions.

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