Association between good work ability and health behaviours among unemployed: A cross-sectional survey
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CitationHult, Marja. Pietilä, Anna-Maija. Koponen, Päivikki. Saaranen, Terhi. (2018). Association between good work ability and health behaviours among unemployed: A cross-sectional survey. APPLIED NURSING RESEARCH, 43, 86-92. 10.1016/j.apnr.2018.07.008.
There has been relatively little research on the possible factors promoting good work ability among unemployed people. Consequently, the role of health behaviours in good work ability among the unemployed is unknown.
To explore the work ability and health behaviours of unemployed people through sociodemographic factors and examine the association between good work ability and health behaviours.
A cross-sectional survey.
The study is based on the Finnish nationwide Regional Health and Well-being Study using mailed and online questionnaires in 2014–2015. A total of 1973 unemployed or laid-off people between the ages of 20 and 65 responded to the survey. The associations of work ability with sociodemographic factors – gender, age, marital status, minors (i.e. under–18s) living in the household, education, living environment, and duration of unemployment – and health behaviours with sociodemographic factors were first explored using cross-tabulations. Health behaviours included body mass index, daily smoking, alcohol consumption, vegetable consumption, health promotion groups, physical exercise, and sitting in one's leisure time. Health behaviours were then examined using logistic regression analyses, in association with good work ability; the latter was measured with the Work Ability Score.
Being aged below 45, being married or cohabiting, having a high level of education, and short-term unemployment were associated with good work ability. A quarter of participants were daily smokers. A proportion of women with risk level alcohol use (79%) was higher than that of men (59.9%). A third of unemployed people participated in high-intensity physical activity. In regression analyses, high-intensity physical activity (OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.06–4.78) was associated with good work ability.
Unemployed women and men widely exhibited unhealthy behaviours such as daily smoking and a risk level use of alcohol. Health promotion actions for enhancing a healthy lifestyle and good work ability among unemployed people, particularly in emphasizing the importance of physical activity, are highly recommended.