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Labour participation of the chronically ill: a profile sketch.

Baanders, A.N., Rijken, P.M., Peters, L. Labour participation of the chronically ill: a profile sketch. European Journal of Public Health: 2002, 12(2), 124-130
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To improve our understanding of the problematic labour market position of people with a chronic disease, this paper describes the participation rates of several subgroups of the chronically ill in the Netherlands, as well as the aspects by which the working chronically ill differ from those who are fully work-disabled and from those who are not working for other reasons. Methods: Data for this study are derived from the Panel of Patients with Chronic Diseases, a nationwide study in the Netherlands. The results discussed here relate to data collected in 1998 from a representative sample of 1266 people aged 15-64 with various chronic somatic diseases. The factors taken into account include medical diagnosis, disease duration, episodic occurrence and frequency of symptoms, pain, fatigue, functional disabilities with respect to motor control, somatic autonomy and cognitive autonomy, as well as the covariates gender, age and education. Conclusion: Labour market position is primarily related to health problems that can be considered common consequences of a chronic illness, while no independent effect of specific disease diagnosis was observed. In comparison with fully work-disabled people, those who are employed experience less pain and fatigue and encounter fewer problems in motor control and cognitive functioning (besides being younger and more highly educated). The main factor besides gender, age and education, distinguishing employed from non-employed involves problems with motor control. (aut. ref.)