To investigate whether work engagement influences self-perceived health, work ability, and sickness absence beyond health behaviors and work-related characteristics.
Employees of two organizations participated in a 6-month longitudinal study (n = 733). Using questionnaires, information was collected on health behaviors, work-related characteristics, and work engagement at baseline, and self-perceived health, work ability, and sickness absence at 6-month follow-up. Associations between baseline and follow-up variables were studied using multivariate and multinomial logistic regression analyses and changes in R2 were calculated.
Low work engagement was related with low work ability (odds ratio: 3.68; 95% confidence interval: 2.15 to 6.30) and long-term sickness absence (odds ratio: 1.84; 95% confidence interval: 1.04 to 3.27). Work engagement increased the explained variance in work ability and sickness absence with 4.1% and 0.5%, respectively.
Work engagement contributes to work ability beyond known health behaviors and work-related characteristics.