STUDY DESIGN.: Cross-sectional study of 45- to 64-year-old Australians. OBJECTIVE.: To assess the relationship between chronic back problems and being in income poverty among the older working-aged population. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Older workers who leave the labor force due to chronic back problems have fragile economic situations and as such are likely to have poorer living standards. Poverty is one way of comparing the living standards of different individuals within society. METHODS.: The 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers data were used, along with the 50% of the median equivalized income-unit income poverty line to identify those in poverty. Logistic regression models were used to look at the relationship between chronic back problems, labor force participation, and poverty. RESULTS.: Regardless of labor force participation status (employed full-time, part-time, or not in the labor force at all), those with chronic back problems were significantly more likely to be in poverty. Those not in the labor force due to chronic back problems were significantly more likely to be in poverty than those in the labor force full-time with no chronic health condition (Odds ratio [OR]: 0.07, 95% CI: 0.07-0.07, P < 0.0001). Further, those employed part-time with no chronic health condition were 48% less likely to be in poverty (OR: 0.52, 95% CI: 0.51-0.53, P < 0.0001) than those also employed part-time but with chronic back problems. It was found that among those with back problems, those out of the labor force were significantly more likely to be in poverty than those employed part-time or full-time (OR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.43-0.44, P < 0.0001; OR: 0.10, 95% CI: 0.10-0.10, P < 0.0001, respectively). CONCLUSION.: This highlights the need to prevent and effectively treat chronic back problems, as these conditions are associated with reduced living standards.
- back problems
- labor force participation