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Occup Med (Lond). 2018 May 23;68(4):246-254. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqy033.

Age, burnout and physical and psychological work ability among nurses.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.
2
Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Berlin, Germany.
3
Institute for Clinical Epidemiology and Applied Biostatistics, University Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

Abstract

Background:

The ageing of the US labour force highlights the need to examine older adults' physical and psychological ability to work, under varying levels of occupational burnout.

Aims:

To examine how age and burnout interact in predicting physical and psychological work ability.

Methods:

Using a cohort of actively working nurses, we assessed factors on the Work Ability Index at 12-month follow-up and determined how these were related to age and exhaustion-related burnout at baseline.

Results:

The study group consisted of 402 nurses aged 25-67 (mean = 41.7). Results indicated age by burnout interactions in which decrements in physical work ability with greater age were observed at all but the lowest level of burnout (1.5 SD below mean: β = -0.14, 95% CI -0.36, 0.07; 1 SD below: β = -0.23, 95% CI -0.39, -0.06; mean: β = -0.39, 95% CI -0.50, -0.29; 1 SD above: β = -0.56, 95% CI -0.70, -0.42; 1.5 SD above: β = -0.64, 95% CI -0.83, -0.46). In contrast, we observed decrements in psychological work ability with age at higher levels of burnout only (1 SD above: β = -0.20, 95% CI -0.35, -0.05; 1.5 SD above: β = -0.30, 95% CI -0.49, -0.11); at lower levels of burnout, older age was associated with improvements in this (1 SD below: β = 0.19, 95% CI 0.03, 0.35; 1.5 SD below: β = 0.29, 95% CI 0.08, 0.50).

Conclusions:

Findings indicated physical and psychological dimensions of work ability that differed by age and occupational burnout. This emphasizes the need for interventions to reduce burnout and to address age-related strengths and vulnerabilities relating to physical and psychological work ability.

PMID:
29590486
PMCID:
PMC5965088
DOI:
10.1093/occmed/kqy033
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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