Objectives To help workers to stay at work in a healthy, productive and sustainable way and to develop interventions to improve work functioning, it is important to have insight in predictors of successful work functioning. The aim of this study is to identify predictors of successful work functioning in the general working population.
Methods A longitudinal study was conducted among the working population. Work functioning was assessed with the Work Role Functioning Questionnaire 2.0 (WRFQ). The total score was categorised as: 0–90; > 90 ≤ 95; and > 95–100 (the latter defined as ‘successful work functioning’). A stepwise multiple ordinal logistic regression analysis was performed to examine relationships between potential predictors and the dependent variable (successful work functioning). Potential predictors included were mental health, fatigue, decision latitude, work engagement, work ability and baseline work functioning.
Results Mental health (OR = 1.09, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.02–1.17) and fatigue (OR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.88–0.98) were both significant predictors of successful work functioning. After the addition of decision latitude and work engagement, only fatigue was predictive of successful work functioning. The effect was attenuated when work ability was added. In the final model, work ability (OR = 2.07, 95% CI = 1.22–3.49) and baseline work functioning (OR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.07–1.25) independently predicted successful work functioning.
Conclusions Work ability and baseline work functioning are predictive for future successful work functioning. However, research has shown that it is difficult to change work ability. The concept of work functioning, reflecting the interplay between work demands and health, might provide better information for the design of interventions.
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