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Factors associated with work productivity among people with COPD: Birmingham COPD Cohort


Background Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are more likely to take time off work (absenteeism) and report poor performance at work (presenteeism) compared to those without COPD. Little is known about the modifiable factors associated with these work productivity outcomes.

Aim To assess the factors associated with work productivity among COPD patients.

Methods Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a subsample (those in paid employment) of the Birmingham COPD Cohort study. Absenteeism was defined by self-report over the previous 12 months. Presenteeism was assessed using the Stanford Presenteeism Scale. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the effects of sociodemographic, clinical and occupational characteristics on work productivity.

Results Among 348 included participants, increasing dyspnoea was the only factor associated with both absenteeism and presenteeism (p for trend<0.01). Additionally, increasing history of occupational exposure to vapours, gases, dusts or fumes (VGDF) was independently associated with presenteeism (p for trend<0.01).

Conclusions This is the first study to identify important factors associated with poor work productivity among patients with COPD. Future studies should evaluate interventions aimed at managing breathlessness and reducing occupational exposures to VGDF on work productivity among patients with COPD.

  • cross sectional studies
  • work productivity
  • absenteeism
  • presenteeism
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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