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Poor work ability increases sickness absence over 10 years
Karolinska Inst, Inst Environm Med, Box 210, S-17177 Stockholm, Sweden.
Karolinska Inst, Inst Environm Med, Box 210, S-17177 Stockholm, Sweden;Naprapathgsk Scandinavian Coll Naprapath Manual M, Stockholm, Sweden.
Karolinska Inst, Inst Environm Med, Box 210, S-17177 Stockholm, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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2019 (English)In: Occupational Medicine, ISSN 0962-7480, E-ISSN 1471-8405, Vol. 69, no 5, p. 359-365Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Little is known about the predictive value of single items from the work ability index (WAI) on the risk of sickness absence over several years, and whether such risk varies across age groups.

Aims

The aim of the study was to investigate whether poor self-perceived physical and mental work ability among employees in the public sector are associated with long-term sickness absence over a 10-year period.

Methods

The study was based on a prospective cohort of employees within the public sector in Sweden reporting ‘good health for working’. Baseline information was collected with questionnaires from 2000 to 2003. Poor physical and mental work ability in relation to work demands were assessed with two items from the WAI. The outcome was the number of years of long-term sickness absence between 2003 and 2012. Long-term sickness absence was defined as ≥28 days of sickness and this information was retrieved from Swedish National Registers. Crude and adjusted incidence rate ratios were calculated with analyses stratified by age.

Results

Compared with those reporting very good physical work ability, employees reporting any lower grade of physical work ability had a higher risk of long-term sickness absence across all age strata, with higher risk estimates in the highest age groups and 6-fold increased risk in the oldest age group. Similar results were found for mental work ability with an almost 4-fold increased risk in the highest age group.

Conclusions

Self-reported physical and mental poor work ability are associated with long-term sickness absence during the subsequent 10 years. The risk increases with age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 69, no 5, p. 359-365
Keywords [en]
Mental health, physical health, work ability index, work absenteeism
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-397141DOI: 10.1093/occmed/kqz083ISI: 000493051400013PubMedID: 31219583OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-397141DiVA, id: diva2:1371920
Funder
AFA Insurance, 130316Available from: 2019-11-21 Created: 2019-11-21 Last updated: 2019-11-21Bibliographically approved

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Josephson, MalinVingård, Eva

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