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Physical and psychosocial working conditions as predictors of 5-year changes in work ability among 2078 employees in Germany

Objective: To examine 5-year prospective associations between working conditions and work ability among employees in Germany.

Methods: A cohort study (2011/2012–2017), based on a random sample of employees in employments subject to payment of social contributions aged 31–60 years (Study on Mental Health at Work; S-MGA; N = 2,078), included data on physical and quantitative demands, control (influence, possibilities for development, control over working time), relations (role clarity and leadership quality) and work ability (Work Ability Index, WAI; subscale ‘subjective work ability and resources’). Data were analysed using linear regression.

Results: Physical demands and control were associated with small 5-year changes in work ability (ΔR²= 1%). Among the subgroup of employees with ≥ 25 sickness days, possibilities for development, control and quality of leadership were associated with changes in work ability (ΔR²= 8%).

Conclusions: The impact of working conditions on long term changes in work ability seems to be negligible. However, in vulnerable subpopulations experiencing poor health, working conditions may be associated to a larger extent to work ability over this time span.

The complete article is published in the Journal "International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health" (2022).

First Online: 27 June 2021

Bibliographic information

H. Burr, S. Lange, M. Freyer, M. Formazin, U. Rose, M. L. Nielsen, P. M. Conway:
Physical and psychosocial working conditions as predictors of 5-year changes in work ability among 2078 employees in Germany. 
in: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Volume 95, Issue 1 2022. pages 153-168, Project number: F 2460, PDF file, DOI: 10.1007/s00420-021-01716-9

download file "Physical and psychosocial working conditions as predictors of 5-year changes in work ability among 2078 employees in Germany" (PDF, 1 MB, Not barrier-free file)

Research Project

Project numberF 2460 StatusOngoing Project Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 2: Longitudinal associations between working and employment conditions, burnout and depressive symptoms

Find out more : Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 2: Longitudinal associations between working and employment conditions, burnout and depressive symptoms …

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