Matching Work Capacity and Job Demands: Toward an Enhanced Measure of Work Ability

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Abstract

Objective:

The Work Ability Index (WAI), the dominant measure of work ability, provides little information for targeting workplace interventions. There are benefits of developing new measures that focus on self-rated capacity to meet job demands rather than on health subscales of the WAI.

Methods:

Structural equation modeling with cross-sectional data from 186 underground coal miners aged 18 to 64 years was used to model multivariate relationships between the WAI subscales, worker autonomy, and relationships with management.

Results:

The results show differential associations between workplace factors and the WAI subscales, particularly self-rated capacity, highlighting potential intervention avenues not identifiable using traditional composite WAI scoring.

Conclusions:

Focusing on self-rated work ability could be beneficial in clinical settings, provided measures are enhanced to capture a sufficient array of job demands.

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