Youth labour force absence and chronic health conditions in Australia

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Abstract

Background Among older workers, chronic disease is known to be a key reason for early retirement. Aims To determine whether chronic health conditions act as a barrier to young Australians (aged 15-29) participating in the labour force. Methods Multiple logistic regression analysis to assess the adjusted odds ratio of people with different chronic health conditions being out of the labour force compared to those with no chronic conditions. Negative binomial regression models to predict the number of years people with different chronic health conditions would remain out of the labour force for. Results Of the 550 000 people aged 15-29 who were not in the labour force, 20% cited ill-health as the reason, reducing Australia's gross domestic product by around $3.7 billion per annum. When adjusted for age and education attainment, males with mental and behavioural disorders had 5.95 times the odds (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.90-9.08) of being out of the labour force, and females with development/intellectual disorders had 2.90 times the odds (95% CI 1.47-2.51), compared to those with no chronic health conditions. Males and females with development/intellectual disorders who were out of the labour force were estimated to spend an additional 2.7 and 3.5 years out of the labour force over the next 5 years. Conclusions Prevention of chronic health conditions may help more younger Australians participate in the labour force, reducing the known long-term health and social problems associated with labour force absence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalOccupational Medicine
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Chronic disease
  • Early adulthood
  • Income
  • Labour force participation

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