Cancer and heart attack survivors' expectations of employment status: Results from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Saskia F.A. Duijts, Allard J. Van Der Beek, Eveline M.A. Bleiker, Lee Smith, Jane Wardle

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Sociodemographic, health- and work-related factors have been found to influence return to work in cancer survivors. It is feasible though that behavioural factors, such as expectation of being at work, could also affect work-related outcomes. Therefore, the effect of earlier identified factors and expectation of being at work on future employment status in cancer survivors was explored. To assess the degree to which these factors specifically concern cancer survivors, a comparison with heart attack survivors was made. Methods: Data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing were used. Cancer and heart attack survivors of working age in the UK were included and followed up for 2 years. Baseline characteristics of both cancer and heart attack survivors were compared regarding employment status. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed in survivors at work, and the interaction between independent variables and diagnose group was assessed. Results: In cancer survivors at work (N = 159), alcohol consumption, participating in moderate or vigorous sport activities, general health and participation were univariate associated with employment status at two-year follow-up. Only fair general health (compared to very good general health) remained statistically significant in the multivariate model (OR 0.31; 95% CI 0.13-0.76; p = 0.010). In heart attack survivors at work (N = 78), gender, general health and expectation of being at work were univariate associated with employment status at follow-up. Female gender (OR 0.03; 95% CI 0.00-0.57; p = 0.018) and high expectation of being at work (OR 10.68; 95% CI 1.23-93.92; p = 0.033) remained significant in the multivariate model. The influence of gender (p = 0.066) and general health (p = 0.020) regarding employment status was found to differ significantly between cancer and heart attack survivors. Conclusions: When predicting future employment status in cancer survivors in the UK, general health is the most relevant factor to consider. While expectation of being at work did not show any significant influence in cancer survivors, in heart attack survivors, it should not be disregarded though, when developing interventions to affect their employment status. Future research should focus on more specific measures for expectation, and additional behavioural factors, such as self-efficacy, and their effect on employment status.

Original languageEnglish
Article number640
Pages (from-to)640
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2017


  • Cancer
  • Employment
  • Expectation
  • Oncology
  • Work ability

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