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Scand J Work Environ Health. 2010 Sep;36(5):404-12. Epub 2010 Apr 7.

The work ability index and single-item question: associations with sick leave, symptoms, and health--a prospective study of women on long-term sick leave.

Author information

1
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, S-40530 Gothenburg, Sweden. linda.ahlstrom@amm.gu.se

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This study investigated the association between the work ability index (WAI) and the single-item question on work ability among women working in human service organizations (HSO) currently on long-term sick leave. It also examined the association between the WAI and the single-item question in relation to sick leave, symptoms, and health. Predictive values of the WAI, the changed WAI, the single-item question and the changed single-item question were investigated for degree of sick leave, symptoms, and health.

METHODS:

This cohort study comprised 324 HSO female workers on long-term (>60 days) sick leave, with follow-ups at 6 and 12 months. Participants responded to questionnaires. Data on work ability, sick leave, health, and symptoms were analyzed with regard to associations and predictability. Spearman correlation and mixed-model analysis were performed for repeated measurements over time.

RESULTS:

The study showed a very strong association between the WAI and the single-item question among all participants. Both the WAI and the single-item question showed similar patterns of associations with sick leave, health, and symptoms. The predictive value for the degree of sick leave and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was strong for both the WAI and the single-item question, and slightly less strong for vitality, neck pain, both self-rated general and mental health, and behavioral and current stress.

CONCLUSION:

This study suggests that the single-item question on work ability could be used as a simple indicator for assessing the status and progress of work ability among women on long-term sick leave.

PMID:
20372766
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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