This study examines whether mental and physical health relate differently to work ability and whether these associations vary with coping style.
A 1-year longitudinal study was conducted among 8842 employees aged 45 to 64 years from the Study on Transitions in Employment, Ability and Motivation. On-line questionnaires measured self-perceived mental and physical health at baseline and coping and work ability at follow-up. The data were analyzed using hierarchical regression analysis.
Active coping and good mental and especially physical health predicted high work ability at follow-up. Avoidant coping was negatively related to work ability. Seeking support was unrelated to work ability. Interaction effects of coping and health on work ability were weak.
Successful coping styles and good health predict high work ability, and thus, promoting such factors can help improve sustainable employability.