Work life of persons with asthma, rhinitis, and COPD: A study using a national, population-based sample
1 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0920, USA
2 Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0920, USA
3 Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0924, USA
4 Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0924, USA
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology 2006, 1:2 doi:10.1186/1745-6673-1-2Published: 2 February 2006
To estimate the duration of work life among persons reporting a physician's diagnosis of COPD, asthma, or rhinitis compared to those with select non-respiratory conditions or none and to delineate the factors associated with continuance of employment.
Persons ages 55 to 75 reporting a physician's diagnosis of COPD, asthma, or rhinitis as well as those without any of these conditions were identified by random-digit dialing (RDD) in the continental U.S and administered a structured survey. We used Kaplan-Meier life table analysis to estimate the duration of work life among persons with and without the three conditions and Cox proportional hazard regression to examine the role of demographic and work characteristics in the proportion leaving employment in each time interval.
Persons with COPD, asthma, and rhinitis were no less likely than the remainder of the population to have ever worked, but those with COPD were less likely to be working when interviewed or as of age 65, whichever came first. As of age 55, only 62 percent of persons with COPD continued to work versus 72 and 78 percent of persons with asthma and rhinitis, respectively. Persons with COPD, asthma, and rhinitis all had an elevated risk of leaving work prior to age 65 relative to those without chronic conditions, with and without adjustment for demographic and work characteristics.
COPD and to a lesser extent asthma and rhinitis were associated with a substantially shortened work life, an effect not due to demographic and work characteristics.