Purpose With an ageing workforce, employees are increasingly confronted with multi-morbidity. Especially physical and mental health problems often occur together. This study aims to (i) explore the effect of multi-morbidity on work ability of ageing employees, more specifically the effects of the number of health problems and the combination of physical and mental health problems, and to (ii) explore to what extent the effects of physical and mental health problems on work ability are explained by applying differing coping styles. Methods A 1 year follow up study (2012–2013) was conducted among 7175 employees aged 45–64 years. Linear regression analyses were conducted to examine longitudinal relationships between multi-morbidity, coping styles and work ability. To determine whether coping styles mediate the effects of multi-morbidity on work ability, Sobel tests were conducted. Results A higher number of health problems was related to poorer work ability, but this negative effect stabilized from three health problems onwards. The combination of physical and mental health problem(s) was more strongly related to poorer work ability than only physical health problems. The negative relation between physical health problems and work ability was partly suppressed by active coping, while the negative relation between the combination of physical and mental health problem(s) on work ability was partly explained by avoidant coping. Conclusions Ageing employees with multi-morbidity have a reduced work ability, especially when mental health problems are present. The greater negative effects of the combination of physical and mental health problems on work ability are partially due to unfavorable coping styles.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10926-018-9811-9, hdl.handle.net/1765/110395
Journal Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Citation
Kadijk, E.A. (Emelien A.), van den Heuvel, S.G, Ybema, J.F, & Leijten, F.R.M. (2018). The Influence of Multi-morbidity on the Work Ability of Ageing Employees and the Role of Coping Style. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. doi:10.1007/s10926-018-9811-9