Work factors related to psychological and health-related distress among employees with chronic illnesses

F. Munir, J. Yarker, C. Haslam, H. Long, S. Leka, A. Griffiths, Sara Jane Cox

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74 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study examined specific psychosocial factors associated with psychological and health-related distress amongst employees reporting different chronic illnesses. Methods: The sample consisted of 1029 employees managing either musculoskeletal pain (n=324), arthritis and rheumatism (n=192), asthma (n=174), depression and anxiety (n=152), heart disease (n=96) or diabetes (n=91). Information on psychological distress, work limitations, illness management, disclosure, absence, presenteeism, support and demographic factors were obtained through self-administered questionnaires. Results: Both low psychological well-being and high health-related distress were associated with an increase in work limitations (β=0.20, SE=.03; and β=0.19, SE=.01, respectively), poorer management of illness symptoms at work (β=-0.17, SE=.12; and β=-0.13, SE=.02), high presentieesm (β=0.19, SE=.25; and β=0.14, SE=.05) and low workplace support (β=-0.05, SE=.22; and β=-0.12, SE=.05). Health-related distress was additionally associated with disclosure of illness at work (β=0.18, SE=.08) and long-term sickness absence (β=0.10, SE=.06). Conclusions: To enable individuals to effectively manage both their illness and their work without serious repercussions, it is important for both healthcare professionals and employers alike, to improve the well-being of workers with chronic illness by supporting and facilitating their efforts to over-come health-related limitations at work. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-277
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

cited By 54


  • absenteeism
  • adult
  • anxiety
  • arthritis
  • article
  • asthma
  • chronic disease
  • controlled study
  • depression
  • diabetes mellitus
  • distress syndrome
  • female
  • heart disease
  • human
  • job stress
  • major clinical study
  • male
  • mental stress
  • musculoskeletal pain
  • questionnaire
  • rheumatic disease
  • social psychology
  • wellbeing
  • work capacity
  • workplace, Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Care
  • Sick Leave
  • Social Adjustment
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Work
  • Workplace


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