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Comparing the Contributions of Well-Being and Disease Status to Employee Productivity

Gandy, William M. EdD; Coberley, Carter PhD; Pope, James E. MD; Wells, Aaron PhD; Rula, Elizabeth Y. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 3 - p 252–257
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000109
Original Articles

Objective: To compare employee overall well-being to chronic disease status, which has a long-established relationship to productivity, as relative contributors to on-the-job productivity.

Methods: Data from two annual surveys of three companies were used in longitudinal analyses of well-being as a predictor of productivity level and productivity change among 2629 employees with diabetes or without any chronic conditions.

Results: Well-being was the most significant predictor of productivity cross-sectionally in a model that included disease status and demographic characteristics. Longitudinally, changes in well-being contributed to changes in productivity above and beyond what could be explained by the presence of chronic disease or other fixed characteristics.

Conclusions: These findings support the use of well-being as the broader framework for understanding, explaining, and improving employee productivity in both the healthy and those with disease.

From the Center for Health Research, Healthways, Inc, Franklin, Tenn.

Address correspondence to: Elizabeth Y. Rula, PhD, Center for Health Research, Healthways, Inc, 701 Cool Springs Blvd, Franklin, TN 37067 (

This study was funded by Healthways, Inc, and all authors are employees and shareholders of this company.

Authors Gandy, Coberley, Pope, Wells, and Rula have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine