Work ability among elderly agriculturists in Thailand

Published: 13 September 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/r964wgw6r6.1


We aimed to assess work ability (WA) and identify the factors affecting it among elderly agriculturists in Thailand. In a cross-sectional survey, 170 elderly agriculturists completed a questionnaire with two sections: work-related data and the Work Ability Index (WAI). The result showed that the most common WAI level was moderate. Univariate correlation analysis showed that WAI level and WAI score were associated with demographic characteristics and health behaviors. Multivariate correlation analysis showed that WAI level was significantly associated with exercise behavior and sleep duration. Moreover, WAI score was significantly associated with body height. Our findings represented that elderly agriculturists had moderate WAI. WAI is influenced by demographic characteristics and health behaviors. This study outcome suggests that enhancing elderly workers’ health behaviors would restore or increase their work ability.


Steps to reproduce

We conducted a cross-sectional survey of elderly agriculturists in Nan Province, Thailand, from March 22 to April 5, 2021. Proportional stratified random sampling and purposive sampling were used in our study. Agriculturists who were officially registered with the district agriculture office were recruited for the study. In total, 170 agriculturists participated in this study. The inclusion criteria for the agriculturists were as follows: (a) agreeing voluntarily to participate in this study and having worked as an agriculturist for at least 1 year, (b) being 60 years old or older and able read and write Thai, and (c) not being disabled according to the law in Thailand. The exclusion criteria were being unable to participate or not being available during the data collection period. This study protocol was reviewed and approved by the Ethical Review Committee for Human Research, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, Thailand (approval number: MUPH 2021-023) on March 2, 2021, and by the Ethics Committee of the University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan (approval number: R2-067) on December 25, 2020. The questionnaire had two sections: section one covered demographic characteristics, health behaviors, and workplace conditions, and section two assessed WA. In the first section, seven questions in a demographic characteristics, a health behaviors, and a working conditions. In the second section, the WAI was used to collect information on WA. The Department of Disease Control issued and certified the Thai version of the WAI 21). Therefore, it can be considered appropriate for use in the Thai population. The WAI consists of seven items: 1) current WA compared with lifetime best, 2) WA concerning the demand of job demands, 3) number of current diseases diagnosed by a physician, 4) estimated work impairment because of disease, 5) sick leave taken during the past year, 6) own prognosis of WA two years from now, and 7) mental resources. The WAI was calculated and then divided into four levels of WA: poor WA (score: 7–27), moderate WA (score: 28–36), good WA (score: 37–43), and excellent WA (score: 44–49). We used SPSS, Version 22.0 for all data analyses. The descriptive statistics of frequency, maximum, minimum, percentage, mean, and standard deviation are used to present the participants’ demographic characteristics, health behaviors, workplace conditions, and WA level. Univariate correlation analysis (rank biserial correlation and Spearman’s correlation) was used to assess the associations between WA level and the other factors. The univariate correlations between WAI score and the other factors were analyzed with Pearson correlation. Ordinal logistic regression was used to examine the associations between WA level and its predictors, adjusting for other factors. Multiple linear regression was used to examine the relationships between WAI score and its predictors, adjusting for other factors.


Mahidol University


Occupational Health Ergonomics