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Work. 2014;49(3):465-72. doi: 10.3233/WOR-131703.

Work Ability: using structural equation modeling to assess the effects of aging, health and work on the population of Brazilian municipal employees.

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Department of Physical Therapy, Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri, Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil Postgraduate Program in Rehabilitation Sciences, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Department of Physical Therapy, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Department of Occupational Therapy, Instituto de Ciencias da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro, Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil.



The Work Ability Model has a holistic structure that incorporates individual characteristics, work-related factors and life outside of work. The model has been explored in the context of Finland but still needs to be applied in other countries.


The aim of this study was to examine the relationships between age, health, work and work ability in a sample of Brazilian municipal employees.


A sample of 5,646 workers answered a web-survey questionnaire that collected information about socio-demographics, health, work characteristics and work ability. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to examine the simultaneous relationships between the variables that comprise the Work Ability Model.


The sample was predominantly female (68.0%), between 30 and 49 years old (60.0%) and highly educated (66.0%). SEM produced good fit indexes that supported the Work Ability Model. Age was positively related to work ability and negatively related to health. Health and work characteristics positively influenced work ability.


The results produced additional support for the conceptualization of work ability as a complex and dynamic phenomenon: a system composed of an individual and various elements of his/her work interact in time and space in a nonlinear way.


SEM; Sick leave; physical workload; public sector; stressful job

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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