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The Association of Medical Conditions and Presenteeism

Burton, Wayne N. MD; Pransky, Glenn MD, MOccH; Conti, Daniel J. PhD; Chen, Chin-Yu PhD; Edington, Dee W. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2004 - Volume 46 - Issue 6 - p S38-S45
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000126687.49652.44

A self-reported measure of four domains of work impairment based on the Work Limitations Questionnaire was completed by 16,651 employees of a large financial services corporation. Using a multivariate model to control for coexisting conditions, age, and gender, significant relationships were observed between medical conditions and patterns of impaired work performance. Depression was highly associated with work limitations in time management (odds ratio [OR] = 2.05), interpersonal/mental functioning (OR = 2.50), and overall output (OR = 2.24). Arthritis (OR = 1.56) and low back pain (OR = 1.32) were associated with physical function limitations. These same two conditions were associated with limitations in mental/interpersonal functioning but with low back pain having the higher odds ratio (OR = 1.54 vs. 1.22). These results suggest that worksite interventions (eg, disease management programs) should be tailored to the unique effects observed with specific medical conditions. More targeted programs could have important benefits for productivity in the workplace.

From Bank One, Chicago Illinois (Dr Burton and Dr Conti); Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Burton); Liberty Mutual Center for Disability Research, Hopkinton Massachusetts (Dr Pransky); Departments of Medicine and Family Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Pransky); DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Conti); and University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan (Dr Chen and Dr Edington).

Address correspondence to: Wayne N. Burton, MD, Senior Vice President/Corporate Medical Director, Bank One, 1 Bank One Plaza, Mail Code IL1–0006, Chicago, IL 60670-0006; E-mail:

©2004The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine