Factors associated with work ability in adults with diabetes

Margaret McCarthy, Joeyee Yan, Victoria Vaughan Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: The aims of this study were to explore associations between clinical and diabetes-related factors with work ability in a sample of working adults with diabetes. Background: Adults with diabetes may face challenges in the workplace, including managing their diabetes and overall physical and mental health. Methods: This was a cross-sectional design with a sample of 101 working adults. Subjects completed valid and reliable surveys assessing depressive symptoms, diabetes self-care, fear of hypoglycemia, diabetes distress, cardiovascular health using American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 (range 0–7) and work ability. Factors significantly associated with work ability at bivariate level were included in linear and logistic regression. Results: The majority of the sample was female (65%) (mean age 54.1 ± 10.5), White (74%), non-Hispanic (93%), worked full-time (65%) and had type 2 diabetes (87%) (mean duration 12.4 ± 9.5 years). The majority (55%) had low diabetes distress, but 24% had high distress and 28% had depressive symptoms. The sample achieved 2.5 ± 1.4 ideal AHA heart health indices and 33% rated their work ability as excellent. In linear regression higher depressive scores were associated with lower work ability scores (b = −0.45, p = .002). In logistic regression, scores on heart health (OR = 1.4; 95%CI:1.0–1.9, p = .03) and diabetes distress (OR = 0.6, 95%CI:0.4–0.9, p = .048) were significantly associated with work ability at its best. Conclusion: Both cardiovascular and psychological health may impact work ability in adults with diabetes. Routinely screening for diabetes distress and depression while also promoting ideal cardiovascular health may improve overall health and work ability in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number151478
JournalApplied Nursing Research
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Adults
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Diabetes
  • Work ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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