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Beliefs about common health problems and work: a qualitative study

Barnes, Maria Carla, Buck, Rhiannon, Williams, Gareth Howard, Webb, Katie Louise and Aylward, Mansel 2008. Beliefs about common health problems and work: a qualitative study. Social Science & Medicine 67 (4) , pp. 657-665. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.05.008

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Common health problems (CHPs) such as pain, depressed mood and fatigue are often cited as causes of disability and incapacity for work. The aim of this qualitative study was to investigate beliefs about CHPs in relation to work. Focus groups (n = 16) were undertaken with 79 people aged 17–83 in South Wales, UK, where there is a high prevalence of limiting long-term illnesses in a number of areas. The findings indicated that depression and stress were consistently reported to have a high impact on life and work relative to other CHPs, with work being perceived as a primary cause of these complaints. The social, moral and economic pressures involved in work and sickness absence emerged as a major theme. Differences were identified in beliefs about CHPs and work according to gender, age and socio-economic status. Beliefs were relatively consistent across geographical locations, although changes in forms of work and social structure of communities were more salient issues within the ex-coalfield areas. Care needs to be taken that initiatives aimed at reducing incapacity for work due to CHPs do not simply add to the pressure to ‘be well’.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Cardiff Institute of Society and Health (CISHE)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: UK; Common health problems; Beliefs; Work; Absence; Presenteeism; Wales
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0277-9536
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2020 01:21

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