MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Taylor M. Shockey MPH
CDC/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Our study examined health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among 22 major occupation groups using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data. The BRFSS is an annual telephone survey that collects data from U.S. residents on their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.
HRQOL is an individual’s self-perception of their physical and mental health over time and it provides a valuable measure of well-being. HRQOL is used by a variety of different fields, outside of public health, including psychology, social work, economics, and urban planning. HRQOL is a measure capable of linking these different fields and is used to determine disease burden, to monitor progress in achieving the Healthy People goals, to guide policy and legislation, to develop interventions, and to allocate resources where they are most needed. The Healthy People goals are 10-year targets for improving the health of Americans through health promotion activities and disease prevention efforts.
In relation to occupation, prior research that has evaluated HRQOL has typically focused on employment status, but not on specific job type. It’s been established, however, that job characteristics such as high demand, low control, role stress, bullying, work hours, etc., are associated with greater risk for common mental health problems as well as physical outcomes like headaches, fatigue, and gastrointestinal problems.
Our study wanted to determine if differences in HRQOL would exist among occupation groups.