Association between co-morbidities and labour force participation amongst persons with back problems

Deborah J. Schofield, Emily J. Callander, Rupendra N. Shrestha, Megan E. Passey, Richard Percival, Simon J. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


There are few studies that have looked at the occurrence of co-morbid conditions amongst patients with back problems. This study assesses the association between of a range of co-morbidities and the labour force participation rates of 45- to 64-year-old Australians with back problems. Logistic regression models were applied to the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) data to look at the relationship between chronic back problems, labour force participation and comorbidities. For some conditions, there is a significant increase in the chance of an individual being out of the labour force, relative to those with back problems alone. For example, an individual with back problems and heart disease is more than 10 times more likely to be out of the labour force than those with back problems alone (OR = 10.90, 95% CI = 2.91-40.79, P =.0004). Amongst conditions that have a significant impact on labour force participation rates, back problems and multiple co-morbidities are significantly more likely to cause persons with these conditions to be out of the labour force than those with back problems alone or those with no chronic health condition. It is important to consider which co-morbidities an individual has when assessing the impact of back problems on labour force participation, as co-morbid conditions vary in their association with labour force participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2068-2072
Number of pages5
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Back problems
  • Co morbidities
  • Labour force participation

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