Physical and psychosocial prerequisites of functioning in relation to work ability and general subjective well-being among office workers

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2002 Jun;28(3):184-90. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.663.


Objectives: The purpose of the study was to investigate the physical and psychological prerequisites of functioning, as well as the social environment at work and personal factors, in relation to work ability and general subjective well-being in a group of office workers.

Methods: The study was a descriptive cross-sectional investigation, using path analysis, of office workers. The subjects comprised 88 volunteers, 24 men and 64 women, from the same workplace [mean age 45.7 (SD 8.6) years]. The independent variables were measured using psychosocial and physical questionnaires and physical measurements. The first dependent variable, work ability, was measured by a work ability index. The second dependent variable, general subjective well-being, was assessed by life satisfaction and meaning of life. The variables were structured according to a modified version of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health.

Results: Forward flexion of the spine, intensity of musculoskeletal symptoms, self-confidence, and mental stress at work explained 58% of work ability and had indirect effects on general subjective well-being. Self-confidence, mood, and work ability had a direct effect on general subjective well-being. The model developed explained 68% of general subjective well-being. Age played a significant role in this study population.

Conclusions: The prerequisites of physical functioning are important in maintaining work ability, particularly among aging workers, and psychological prerequisites of functioning are of even greater importance in maintaining general subjective well-being.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Office Management / organization & administration
  • Office Management / standards
  • Office Management / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Psychology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Work Capacity Evaluation
  • Workplace