Spotlight on article published in

Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

IBI Spotlights call attention to important health and productivity findings from peer-reviewed work by external researchers. Unless otherwise stated, the authors are not affiliated with IBI, nor was the research executed on IBI’s behalf. IBI members are encouraged to obtain the original articles from the copyright holder.

What is the Issue?

With the rising prevalence of chronic disease across industrialized nations, employers are simultaneously facing the impact of disease on work – including impairment on the job, periods of work disability and turnover.

What are the findings/solutions?

This review summarizes five key dimensions of working life quality for those with chronic illness: job characteristics; social structural characteristics; organizational characteristics individual work perceptions; and disease and treatment effects.

Journal Citation

deJong, M., deBoer, A.G.EM., Tamminga, S.J., & Frings-Dresen, M.H.W. (2014) Quality of Working Life Issues of Employees with a Chronic Physical Disease: A Systematic Review.Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, May 16 2014 EPub ahead of print


To summarize factors that influence quality of working life for workers with chronic illness.


A systematic review of 16 peer-reviewed articles published between January 1988 and January 2014 were selected for summary. Each study had to meet the following inclusion criteria: 1) include employees with a chronic physical illness; 2) include employees who were actively employed; and 3) include factors affecting quality of working life.


Five common themes emerged from the review and synthesis of the literature as follows:

  1. Job characteristics – including worksite access and flexibility on the job;
  2. Social structural characteristics – including discrimination, misunderstanding and general awareness by colleagues and employers;
  3. Organizational characteristics – including work accommodations;
  4. Individual work perceptions – including enjoyment and assessments of priorities;
  5. Disease and treatment effects – including impacts on cognitive and physical functioning on the job.


Work continuation and return to work may be more effective by evaluating and responding to these five key dimensions for employees with chronic illness.