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The Double Whammy of a Work Handicap (Differential) Effects of Health on Working Conditions and Outcomes

Steenbeek, Romy PhD; Giesen, Femke B. M. MSc; Ybema, Jan Fekke PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181af6c79
Original Articles
Abstract

Objective: To determine the effect of health on working conditions and outcomes.

Methods: Data were collected in the longitudinal Study on Health at Work (n = 1597 employees), using multiple regression analyses and focusing on three groups of employees: 1) healthy, 2) chronic health complaints without a work handicap, and 3) chronic health complaints with a work handicap.

Results: 1) Employees with a work handicap experienced less favorable working conditions and outcomes than other employees. 2) Employees with a work handicap experienced less favorable working conditions and outcomes over time. 3) Employees with chronic health complaints were more vulnerable to the influence of working conditions on outcomes, whereas employees with a work handicap, unexpectedly, benefited from high work pressure and low autonomy.

Conclusion: 1) Employees with a work handicap differ considerably from employees with chronic health complaints. 2) Employees with a work handicap drift into less favorable working conditions and outcomes. 3) Healthy employees, employees with chronic health complaints, and employees with a work handicap, all are vulnerable to different working conditions.

Author Information

From the TNO Work and Employment.

Address correspondence to: TNO Work and Employment, PO Box 718, 2130 AS Hoofddorp, The Netherlands; E-mail: romy.steenbeek@tno.nl.

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine