Online Program

A standardized process for using 0*NET to estimate the association between work exposures and chronic disease occurrence

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

Allard Dembe, ScD, Division of Health Services, Management and Policy, The Ohio State University, College of Public Health, Columbus, OH
Xiaoxi Yao, PhD, Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Thomas Wickizer, PhD, Division of Health Services Management and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Abigail Shoben, Ph.D., College of Public Health, Division of Biostatistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Xiuwen Sue Dong, DrPH, Data Center, CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD
Background and Objectives: This study aims to develop a general process using data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to estimate the association between long-term occupational exposure and the risk of contracting chronic diseases later in life. To demonstrate the usefulness of this standardized process, we analyze the relationship between O*NET exposure ratings of physical work demands and the onset of arthritis over a 32-year period. Methods: Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 (NLSY79) provided information about the work histories of 7,565 individuals and their health conditions. Five O*NET job descriptors (e.g., “handing and moving objects” and “bending or twisting the body”) were used as surrogate measures of physical work demands. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to measure the association between those demands and arthritis occurrence. Results: The risk of contracting arthritis was found to be significantly associated with handling and moving objects (OR: 1.45), kneeling, crouching, and crawling (OR: 1.36), bending and twisting (OR: 1.49) and performing general physical activities (OR 1.47). The relationship between exposure to working in a cramped or awkward posture and arthritis was not statistically significant. Conclusions: This study developed and tested a general methodology for using O*NET job ratings to analyze the strength of association between occupational exposure and chronic disease. This method can be applied broadly to many job hazards and a variety of common chronic conditions. The study also showed that O*NET can successfully serve as a surrogate measure for occupational exposure when no actual exposure data is available.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe how O*NET job descriptors can be used as a surrogate measure of exposure to occupational hazards when conducting occupational health research. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of using O*NET indicator ratings to estimate occupational exposure levels. Discuss the importance of identifying possible linkages between long-term exposure to heavy work demands and the risk of contracting chronic arthritis later in life.

Keyword(s): Occupational Exposure, Chronic Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator of a new NIOSH grant to study the relationship between O*Net indicators of occupational exposure and the risk of chronic disease onset later in life. I am a full professor at Ohio State University, have conducted occupational health research for 35 years, and have authored approximately 100 books, articles, and book chapters in this field, and have been PI for more than 40 funded grant projects.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.