Article

Work ability in midlife as a predictor of mortality and disability in later life: a 28-year prospective follow-up study

Gerontology Research Centre, Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.
Canadian Medical Association Journal (Impact Factor: 5.81). 03/2011; 183(4):E235-42. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.100713
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Poor work ability correlates with increased morbidity and early retirement from the workforce, but the association in old age is not known. We investigated work ability in midlife among white-collar and blue-collar employees as a predictor of mortality and disability 28 years later.
A total of 5971 occupationally active people aged 44-58 years participated in the Finnish Longitudinal Study of Municipal Employees (FLAME) in 1981. Perceived work ability relative to lifetime best was categorized as excellent, moderate or poor. In 2009, the ability to perform activities of daily living was assessed among 2879 respondents (71.0% of the survivors). Mortality data were available up to July 2009.
At the 28-year follow-up, 1918 of the 5971 participants had died and 1403 had some form of disability. Rates of death per 1000 person-years among white-collar men were 7.7 for those with excellent work ability, 14.7 for those with moderate work ability and 23.5 for those with poor work ability. Among blue-collar men, the corresponding rates were 15.5, 20.2 and 25.3. In women, rates ranged between 6.3 and 10.6 per 1000 person-years. The age-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for mortality were two to three times higher among blue-collar male employees with lower work ability than among white-collar male employees with excellent work ability in midlife (i.e., the reference group). The odds of death or disability at follow-up compared with white-collar workers with excellent work ability were highest among blue-collar employees with poor work ability in midlife (odds ratio [OR] 4.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.82-7.37 for men; OR 3.37, 95% CI 2.28-4.98 for women). Among the survivors, similar but slightly lower risks of disability 28 years later were found.
Perceived poor work ability in midlife was associated with accelerated deterioration in health and functioning and remains evident after 28 years of follow-up.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Taina Rantanen, Jul 03, 2015
1 Follower
 · 
112 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Work ability depends on a balance between individual resources and work demands. This study evaluated factors that are associated with inadequate work ability among workers in the clothing industry. We conducted a cross-sectional observational study of 306 workers in 40 small and medium-sized enterprises. We assessed work ability, individual resources, physical and psychosocial demands, and aspects of life outside work using a binary logistic regression model with hierarchical data entry. The mean work ability was 42.5 (SD=3.5); when adjusted for age, only 11% of the workers showed inadequate work ability. The final model revealed that smoking, high isometric physical load, and poor physical environmental conditions were the most significant predictors of inadequate work ability. Good working conditions and worker education must be implemented to eliminate factors that can be changed and that have a negative impact on work ability. These initiatives include anti-smoking measures, improved postures at work, and better physical environmental conditions.
    Work 11/2013; 50(2). DOI:10.3233/WOR-131801 · 0.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We investigated the 28-year development trajectories of work ability among initially middle-aged male and female municipal employees and the association of perceived mental and physical work strain in midlife by work ability trajectory groups. The baseline data of the Finnish longitudinal study of municipal employees (FLAME) were collected in 1981 (N=6257) with follow-ups in 1985, 1992, 1997, and 2009. Work ability was assessed in all the waves as present perceived work ability relative to lifetime best. Altogether, N=2690 had work ability data in 1981 and 2009, and at least for one wave in between these years, and were included in group-based semi-parametric mixture modeling trajectory analyses. Baseline differences in mental and physical work strain according to the work ability trajectories were assessed with MANCOVA (multivariate analysis of covariance). A five-group work ability trajectory model was identified for men and a four-group model for women. For the majority, a linear decline from excellent to moderate or moderate to poor work ability was observed while non-linear trajectories with sudden collapse and, in some cases, modest subsequent recovery of work ability were also observed. Individuals who maintained their work ability on an excellent-to-moderate level throughout the follow-up more often reported low mental and physical work strain in midlife. A substantial proportion of individuals seem to maintain their work ability on a moderate level from midlife to old age. Work strain may have far-reaching negative effects on individuals' work ability from midlife to old age, warranting vigilance in maintaining and promoting work ability throughout the lifespan.
    Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 06/2011; 37(6):455-63. DOI:10.5271/sjweh.3177 · 3.10 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present study investigates the role of work ability and job involvement in personal life goals later in retirement. The study is based on longitudinal research on Finnish employees working in managerial positions. At the study baseline (in 1996), 120 employed managers responded to a questionnaire regarding their work ability and job involvement, and 11 years later (in 2007) when they were retired, they responded to an open-ended question regarding their personal goals. The retired participants were 58-76 years old (M = 66 years), and they had been retired for 1-10 years (M = 4.3 years, SD = 2.9). On the basis of the participants' responses to the open-ended question, six main content categories of personal goals were formed. According to these categories, the personal goals in retirement focused on (1) hobbies and leisure time, (2) social relationships, (3) health and well-being, (4) housing and finance, (5) self-development and ideology, and (6) other activities. The managers with better work ability and job involvement at the baseline of the study had fewer personal goals related to health and well-being later in retirement. In addition, better work ability predicted more personal goals related to self-development and ideology views. The preceding work ability and job involvement seem to channel personal goal pursuit in retirement. Thus, sustaining employees' work ability and job involvement are not only essential for developing employees' ability to cope with work demands but also for their functional capacity in their later stages of life, such as in retirement.
    International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 09/2011; 85(5):547-58. DOI:10.1007/s00420-011-0705-9 · 2.20 Impact Factor