A study of aetiological associations between working conditions, mental health, work ability, and functioning
From a social policy perspective, it is an important aim to ensure participation in working life from the time when individuals join the workforce until they reach the statutory retirement age. In this respect, attention is focussed not just on early retirement, but also on interrupted employment histories with extended episodes of sickness absence, unemployment or pension before statutory retirement age.
Health issues are frequently mentioned in the discussion about the key factors that influence the transition from active participation in work to leaving employment and taking early retirement.
As part of a longitudinal study initiated by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), this project will investigate various factors with influence on work participation. Initial results show, for example, that employees who have been exposed to particular working conditions have an elevated risk of giving up paid employment before statutory retirement age. This relates to employees who have reported demanding body postures, lifting and carrying heavy weights, or high work pace. According to the data gathered so far, about one quarter of all early retirements are attributable to these working conditions.
It is already clear from the current results that, alongside mental health-related factors, favourable working conditions are still of great significance as well today when it comes to ensuring employees’ participation in working life over the long term. As the project continues, further research will in particular examine the extent to which work participation can be predicted from employees’ mental health. The comprehensive investigation of these factors and their influence is a vital prerequisite for the precise targeting of future occupational safety and health measures to maintain work participation.
Unit 3.2 "Mental Workload and Mental Health"