Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe the long-term occupational consequences of asthma in males of the ESTEV study, a French longitudinal cohort of working subjects aged 37-52 at inclusion.
Methods: Medical data, self-perceived health status, sick leave, occupational social class and employment characteristics were recorded twice by occupational physicians in 1990 (12,233 subjects) and 1995 (10,608 subjects). Asthma was characterized as to its onset (childhood, i.e., before age 20 vs. adult) and to its past versus current status by the physician.
Results: Of the 398 asthmatics, the onset was before age 20 for 226 and the asthma status was classified as current for 159 subjects. Unemployment was not higher before baseline or during follow-up, in asthmatics as compared to non-asthmatics, despite a significantly higher prevalence of sick leave in the previous year among current asthmatics (38.4% vs. 27.0%, P = 0.005). Being a blue collar worker in 1990 is negatively related to childhood asthma but not to the current asthma status. In 1995, current adult-onset asthmatics had stopped working due to disability more frequently than never-asthmatics.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the major consequence of asthma on employment status is a selective exclusion, observed in childhood asthmatics at the beginning of their working life and in current adult-onset asthmatics at the end of their working life. Past unemployment was shown not to be higher in working asthmatics.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.