A cross-sectional study collecting demographic, work history, disease, and quality-of-life (QOL) data from adults with asthma was explored for a relationship between workplace exacerbation of asthma (WEA) and QOL. The study population of adults with asthma was drawn from adults affiliated with Fallon Community Health Plan, a health maintenance organization serving Massachusetts. The sample consisted of 598 adults with asthma. Based on univariate analyses, study participants with WEA had a statistically significant higher Total QOL score, indicating a worse quality of life, than participants whose asthma was not work-related (2.43 vs. 1.74, P <= 0.001), and also higher scores on the instrument's four subscales for Breathlessness, Mood Disturbance, Social Disruptions, and Health Concerns. After controlling for covariates using multiple linear regression, the relationship between WEA and the Total QOL score was statistically significant (P = 0.0004) with a coefficient of 0.54. The coefficient for WEA was also statistically significant based on regression models for all the subscales with the exception of the Breathlessness score (P = 0.08). In summary, WEA was associated with a worse QOL. Ideally, employees and employers would work together to minimize the conditions at work that contribute to WEA, which should decrease the frequency of WEA and related degradation of QOL.
PK Henneberger, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV 26505