Antecedents of Work Disability Absence Among Young People: A Prospective Study
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PURPOSE: This study examined the relative contribution of individual factors, job characteristics, and temporal factors to the likelihood of lost days of work due to a work-related disability or illness among Canadians 16 to 24 years old. METHODS: Using a prospective Canadian survey with up to 6 years of follow-up, the job-based analyses included 45,125 job episodes generated from a representative sample of young workers. A hazard model on work disability absence included the following predictors: age, gender, physical demands of the job (manual, nonmanual, and mixed), hours worked, highest education achieved, multiple concurrent job, job tenure, school activity, and living in a rural or urban area. RESULTS: The overall 1-week work disability absence rate was 0.78 per 1000 person-months. In the multivariate model, young workers holding manual jobs were 2.65 times more likely to have a work disability absence compared with young workers with nonmanual jobs. Also, those with less than a high school education were almost 3 times more likely to have a work disability absence. Other demographic factors such as gender were not independently associated with work disability absences. CONCLUSIONS: This prospective study finds that job characteristics are the predominant risk factors for work disability absences for young workers. Young workers with less education appear to be particularly vulnerable, possibly because of inadequate job skills or particularly dangerous job tasks.
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