Contribution of occupational psychological and social factors to low work ability and disability retirement
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AbstractBackground: Past work ability-research has often focused on the relevance of a limited set of psychosocial dimensions. Taking into account at broad range of factors the overall aim of this thesis was to determine which specific psychological and social working conditions predict later work disability. Methods: The thesis included several large samples of employees (largest being 12438 subjects) from various occupations. Data was collected over a period of more than ten years. Linking survey responses to registers of disability compensation allowed for determining associations between a wide range of non-physical work exposures and work disability as officially defined. The effects of both stable and changing exposure over time were studied as well as the impact of organizational changes. Results: Analyses confirmed past findings conveying the importance of elevating perceived job control to prevent work disability. Notably, the results also revealed the importance of other and less studied work factors. While “traditional” job demands such as time pressure had little impact, aspects of role expectations, leadership, organizational climate, and company changes predicted later disability retirement. Overall, the most consistent risk factor was role conflict while positive challenge at work was the most important occupational condition to prevent work disability. Conclusions: The findings presented in this thesis could be of practical value as the predictive factors were specific and likely to be suitable candidates for modification. Thus, work place efforts aiming to sustain employee work ability may improve by taking into account the knowledge provided by this thesis. Future intervention studies may be needed nevertheless, to assess the fruitfulness of modifying specific working conditions.
List of papers
|Paper I: Emberland JS, Knardahl S. Contribution of psychological, social, and mechanical work exposures to low work ability: a prospective study. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2015;57:300-14. The article is included in the thesis. The published version is also available at: https://doi.org/10.1097/jom.0000000000000353|
|Paper II: Emberland JS, Nielsen MB, Knardahl S. Psychological, social, and mechanical work exposures and disability retirement: a prospective registry study. BMC Public Health 2017;17:56. The article is included in the thesis. The published version is also available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-016-3921-0|
|Paper III: Emberland JS, Knardahl S. Changes in psychological, social, and organizational work factors and risk of disability retirement: a prospective registry study. To be published. The paper is not available in DUO awaiting publishing.|