Presentation T O29

T O29 (Oral Presentation):
Trajectories of productivity loss over a 20-year period: an analysis of the national longitudinal survey of youth

Presented by: Elyssa Besen

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Besen E1, Pransky G1

  1. Center for Disability Research, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, MA, USA



Productivity loss at work due to health problems represents a serious concern in today’s workforce. There is little information on how and when productivity loss develops over a working lifetime and how patterns of productivity loss may differ in risk for subsequent loss of employment. We investigated the developmental trajectories of health-related productivity loss over a 20-year period in adults ages 25-44 and explored differences among the trajectories in demographic and personal characteristics and employment outcomes in midlife. If distinct long-term temporal patterns of productivity can be identified, and these patterns differ in risk of subsequent work disability, this may create an opportunity for new interventions to prevent disability and improve productivity, well before permanent work limitations or work loss has occurred.


We utilized 12 waves of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Participants experiencing at least one wave with productivity loss, defined as health preventing work or health limiting the amount or kind of work a person could do, were included in the trajectory model (N=2430). Differences among trajectories were assessed using ANOVAs and Chi-square tests. A reference group (N=2582) of participants employed in all 12 waves without experiencing productivity loss were included in these analyses.


A four-group trajectory model for productivity loss was identified with a consistently low risk group (42%), a consistently high risk group (12%), a group experiencing an increasing risk at early ages (19%), and a group experiencing an increasing risk at later ages (27%). At the outcome wave, the reference and low risk groups worked the most weeks and hours per week and had the highest percentages of participants employed 10 weeks or more compared to the high risk and early onset increasing risk groups. The high risk and early onset increasing risk groups had the lowest levels of mastery, self-esteem, education, and socioeconomic status.


There are several developmental patterns of productivity loss, with some trajectories being associated with lower work participation in midlife. These high risk patterns may be indicative of individuals needing intervention to prevent premature work withdrawal.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
15:45 - 17:30 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (T O25 - T O38 and Seminar 6)
Session: Work Disability trajectories
Room B