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Approved research

Understanding the relationship between employment and health

Principal Investigator: Dr Evangelia Demou
Approved Research ID: 17333
Approval date: April 1st 2017

Lay summary

One of the main issues in occupational health studies is the often long latency period associated with occupational diseases. Concurrently, the working environment is rapidly changing, with flexible and agile working conditions and extending working lives, often resulting in ?non-traditional? career trajectories. The aim study aim is to investigate the relationship between employment and health and health-related behaviours. We will investigate the employment and occupational determinants of health by looking at employment histories and their impact on physical and mental health and healthy ageing and investigate causal effects of health-related behaviours on employment-related outcomes. Understanding these issues is essential to informing policy-makers, employers and ultimately individuals. This work has cross-disciplinary relevance and benefits, including the fields of occupational health and public health. The findings of the study will inform public health and occupational health academics on the health factors that are significantly associated with occupational and organisational risk factors and premature exit from the labour market (e.g. unemployment, early retirement). Academics interested in work organization and employment will better understand not only the health but also the socio-economic and occupational factors influencing work ability and job stability and retention. We will explore the relationships between work and physical and mental health and investigate the occupational determinants of health and the associations between occupation and health, disease categories and healthy ageing. This will involve studying different aspects of work: being in work, type of job, job stability and moving between jobs. The richness of the UK Biobank data means that we can study whether the patterns we find are due to occupation, social factors and lifestyle and whether they vary within the population; for example, by age and gender. This study will include the full cohort of Biobank participants, including those that undertook the Healthy Work questionnaire (baseline & occupational history data for the cohort).