142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Clinical and behavioral predictors of short-term disability absence from work

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Brian Gifford, PhD , Integrated Benefits Institute, San Francisco, CA
Background and Objective: Extended absences from work due to illness are costly to workers, their employers and society at large. Many disability absences may be preventable in the near term. This study analyzes prospectively how observable medical conditions, biometric indicators and health behaviors predict short-term disability (STD) absences from work.

 Methods: An integrated database of employees’ medical and disability claims, lab results and survey responses is used to estimate the likelihood of an STD insurance claim within twelve months of an observation.  Logistic regression analysis is used to estimate the log odds of disability claim activity for employees with different medical conditions and health status indicators, and as a function of claim activity in the twelve months prior to an observation.

 Results: Employees with healthier diets and sleeping habits were at lower risk of a non-pregnancy STD claim in the following twelve months. Unhealthy HbA1c, blood glucose, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride values were predictive of later STD claims, as were high stress and psychological distress levels. Several categories of medical conditions – mental disorders and digestive diseases in particular – were predictive of a later STD claim. However, treatment for symptoms and ill-defined signs were substantively less important, and employees with routine care were less likely to experience STD absences. This suggests that disability experiences are not associated with care-seeking in general.

Conclusions: Early identification of health risks among employees who have not yet experienced a disability leave from work may provide opportunities to prevent future episodes of work disability.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Occupational health and safety
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the types of medical conditions, biometric lab results, and health behaviors that indicate a person is at a higher than average risk for a non-pregnancy, short-term disability absence from work.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, Disabilities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted social science research on workforce health, absence, performance and productivity for over five years. This includes publication of both peer-reviewed articles and institute-published monographs, as well as presentations of findings to scientific and professional audiences. My past appointments include a postdoctoral fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundationís Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at the University of California, Berkeley, and as a social scientist with the RAND Corporation.
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.