Work disability and diabetes.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the rates and demographic determinants of work disability, hours worked per week, work-loss days, and wages in individuals with diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A probit regression analysis was performed on a cross-sectional population-based survey of U.S. noninstitutionalized civilian population (National Medical Expenditures Survey--2, 1987). The sample was restricted to individuals aged > or = 25 years. A total of 1,502 individuals reported having diabetes, and 20,405 did not. Information on workforce participation and income were collected quarterly. Work disability was defined as a self-report of having been unable to work because of illness or disability for > or = 2 quarters in 1987. RESULTS: Work disability was reported by 25.6% of individuals with diabetes, compared with 7.8% of those without diabetes. Work disability rates were higher for older people, females, and African-Americans, and lower for Hispanics and for individuals with greater non-wage income. Individuals with diabetes engaged in the workforce had more work-loss days than did nondiabetic individuals, but had similar hourly wages. Predicted mean earnings were significantly lower for individuals with diabetes at all ages, resulting in $4.7 million loss in earnings in 1987 due to work disability. CONCLUSIONS: Work disability is significantly higher for individuals with diabetes than for those without diabetes at all ages, and results in a significant decrease in earnings. A disproportionate burden of work disability is borne by older individuals and women with diabetes. Better information on the determinants of work disability in individuals with diabetes is needed.