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J Occup Rehabil. 2007 Jun;17(2):259-77. Epub 2007 Feb 28.

Work factors related to psychological and health-related distress among employees with chronic illnesses.

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  • 1Department of Human Sciences, Brockington Building, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK.



This study examined specific psychosocial factors associated with psychological and health-related distress amongst employees reporting different chronic illnesses.


The sample consisted of 1029 employees managing either musculoskeletal pain (n=324), arthritis and rheumatism (n=192), asthma (n=174), depression and anxiety (n=152), heart disease (n=96) or diabetes (n=91). Information on psychological distress, work limitations, illness management, disclosure, absence, presenteeism, support and demographic factors were obtained through self-administered questionnaires.


Both low psychological well-being and high health-related distress were associated with an increase in work limitations (beta=0.20, SE=.03; and beta=0.19, SE=.01, respectively), poorer management of illness symptoms at work (beta=-0.17, SE=.12; and beta=-0.13, SE=.02), high presentieesm (beta=0.19, SE=.25; and beta=0.14, SE=.05) and low workplace support (beta=-0.05, SE=.22; and beta=-0.12, SE=.05). Health-related distress was additionally associated with disclosure of illness at work (beta=0.18, SE=.08) and long-term sickness absence (beta=0.10, SE=.06).


To enable individuals to effectively manage both their illness and their work without serious repercussions, it is important for both healthcare professionals and employers alike, to improve the well-being of workers with chronic illness by supporting and facilitating their efforts to over-come health-related limitations at work.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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