Article

Increased Risk of Long-Term Sickness Absence, Lower Rate of Return to Work, and Higher Risk of Unemployment and Disability Pensioning for Thyroid Patients: A Danish Register-Based Cohort Study

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism (Impact Factor: 6.31). 06/2014; 99(9):jc20134468. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2013-4468
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Context: Little is known about how thyroid diseases affect work ability. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the risk of work disability for patients with thyroid disease compared with the general population. Design, Setting, and Participants: In a longitudinal register study, outpatients (n = 862) with nontoxic goiter, hyperthyroidism, Graves' orbitopathy (GO), autoimmune hypothyroidism, or other thyroid diseases and their matched controls (n = 7043) were observed in the years 1994-2011 in Danish national registers of social benefits, health, and work characteristics. Cox regression analyses estimated adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for the first year after diagnosis and subsequent years. Main Outcome Measures: Transitions between work, long-term sickness absence, unemployment, and disability pension were measured. Results: Patients differed significantly from the general population with regard to sickness absence, disability pension, return from sickness absence, and unemployment. In the first year after diagnosis, higher risks of sickness absence was seen for GO (HR 6.94) and other hyperthyroid patients (HR 2.08), who also had lower probability of returning from sickness absence (HR 0.62) and higher risk of disability pension (HR 4.15). Patients with autoimmune hypothyroidism showed a lower probability of returning from sickness absence (HR 0.62). In subsequent years, GO patients had significantly higher risk of sickness absence (HR 2.08), lower probability of return from sickness absence (HR 0.51), and unemployment (HR 0.52) and a higher risk of disability pension (HR 4.40). Hyperthyroid patients also had difficulties returning from sickness absence (HR 0.71). Conclusions: Thyroid patients' risk of work disability is most pronounced in the first year after diagnosis and attenuates in subsequent years. GO patients have the highest risk of work disability.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose We aimed to identify the best approach to work ability assessment in patients with thyroid disease by evaluating the factor structure, measurement equivalence, known-groups validity, and predictive validity of a broad set of work ability items. Methods Based on the literature and interviews with thyroid patients, 24 work ability items were selected from previous questionnaires, revised, or developed anew. Items were tested among 632 patients with thyroid disease (non-toxic goiter, toxic nodular goiter, Graves’ disease (with or without orbitopathy), autoimmune hypothyroidism, and other thyroid diseases), 391 of which had participated in a study 5 years previously. Responses to select items were compared to general population data. We used confirmatory factor analyses for categorical data, logistic regression analyses and tests of differential item function, and head-to-head comparisons of relative validity in distinguishing known groups. Results Although all work ability items loaded on a common factor, the optimal factor solution included five factors: role physical, role emotional, thyroid-specific limitations, work limitations (without disease attribution), and work performance. The scale on thyroid-specific limitations showed the most power in distinguishing clinical groups and time since diagnosis. A global single item proved useful for comparisons with the general population, and a thyroid-specific item predicted labor market exclusion within the next 5 years (OR 5.0, 95 % CI 2.7–9.1). Conclusions Items on work limitations with attribution to thyroid disease were most effective in detecting impact on work ability and showed good predictive validity. Generic work ability items remain useful for general population comparisons.
    Quality of Life Research 12/2014; DOI:10.1007/s11136-014-0896-0 · 2.86 Impact Factor
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