Male-Female Differences in Work Activity Limitations: Examining the Relative Contribution of Chronic Conditions and Occupational Characteristics

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The aim of this study was to examine differences in activity limitations at work among men and women, and the relative contributions that chronic conditions and occupational characteristics have on these differences.


Secondary data from the Canadian Community Health Surveys were used. Path analysis examined the role of mediating variables (chronic conditions and occupational characteristics) in male-female differences in work activity limitations.


The prevalence of activity limitations at work was higher in women (15.0%) than in men (12.3%). Arthritis, migraines, diabetes, heart disease, and mood disorders, as well as high physical demands and prolonged standing were associated with an increased risk of work activity limitations. The increased risk of work activity limitations among women was completely explained by mediating variables.


This study suggests that male-female differences in work activity limitations can be explained by differences in chronic conditions and occupational characteristics.

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