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Open AccessArticle

Validation of Short Measures of Work Ability for Research and Employee Surveys

Department of Occupational Health Science, University of Wuppertal, 42119 Wuppertal, Germany
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3386; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183386
Received: 9 August 2019 / Revised: 4 September 2019 / Accepted: 10 September 2019 / Published: 12 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Work Ability and Aging)
Work ability (WA) is an important concept in occupational health research and for over 30 years assessed worldwide with the Work Ability Index (WAI). In recent years, criticism of the WAI is increasing and alternative instruments are presented. The authors postulate that theoretical and methodological issues need to be considered when developing alternative measures for WA and conclude that a short uni-dimensional measure is needed that avoids conceptual blurring. The aim of this contribution is to validate the short and uni-dimensional WAI components WAI 1 (one item measuring “current WA compared with the lifetime best”) and WAI 2 (two items assessing “WA in relation to the [mental/physical] demands of the job”). Cross-sectional and 12-month follow-up data of two large samples was used to determine construct validity of WAI 1 and WAI 2 and to relate this to respective results with the WAI. Data sources comprise nurses in Europe investigated in the European NEXT-Study (Sample A; Ncross-sectional = 28,948 and NLongitudinal = 9462, respectively) and nursing home employees of the German 3Q-Study (Sample B) where nurses (N = 786; 339, respectively) and non-nursing workers (N = 443; 196, respectively) were included. Concurrent and predictive validity of WAI 1 and WAI 2 were assessed with self-rated general health, burnout and considerations leaving the profession. Spearman rank correlation (ρ) with bootstrapping was applied. In all instances, WAI 1 and WAI 2 correlated moderately, and to a similar degree, with the related constructs. Further, WAI 1 and 2 correlated with WAI moderately to strongly with ρ ranging from 0.72–0.76 (WAI 1) and 0.70–0.78 (WAI 2). Based on the findings and supported by theoretical and methodological considerations, the authors confirm the feasibility of the short measures WAI 1 and WAI 2 for replacing WAI at least in occupational health research and employee surveys. View Full-Text
Keywords: work ability; work ability index; WAI; measurement; occupational health; occupational epidemiology work ability; work ability index; WAI; measurement; occupational health; occupational epidemiology
MDPI and ACS Style

Ebener, M.; Hasselhorn, H.M. Validation of Short Measures of Work Ability for Research and Employee Surveys. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3386. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183386

AMA Style

Ebener M, Hasselhorn HM. Validation of Short Measures of Work Ability for Research and Employee Surveys. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(18):3386. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183386

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ebener, Melanie; Hasselhorn, Hans M. 2019. "Validation of Short Measures of Work Ability for Research and Employee Surveys" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 18: 3386. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183386

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