Psychological capital and work functioning of workers with recurrent or metastatic cancer beyond return to work

Ingrid G. Boelhouwer*, Tinka Van Vuuren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives The existing studies among workers with a past cancer diagnosis have rarely focused on workers confronted with cancer recurrence or metastases specifically, so knowledge is lacking. The aim of this study, therefore, was to investigate the work functioning (work ability, burnout complaints, and work engagement) of workers with recurrent or metastasized cancer. Furthermore, the association of psychological capital (hope, optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy) with work functioning was studied. Methods Data from a survey study among workers 2-10 years past cancer diagnosis were used (N = 750); 73% reported a diagnosis of breast cancer and 27% a diagnosis of cancer other than breast cancer. Analysis of variance was used to compare participants with and without cancer recurrence or metastases regarding work functioning (work ability, burnout complaints, and work engagement) and psychological capital (hope, optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy). Multivariate regression analyses were used to analyze the association of type of cancer and psychological capital with work functioning among workers with cancer recurrence or metastatic cancer (n = 54), controlling for age. Results Work ability is significantly lower among workers with cancer recurrence or metastases (controlling for age); however, burnout complaints and work engagement are at comparable levels. Among workers with cancer recurrence or metastases, a higher level of hope is positively associated with work ability and work engagement, and a higher level of hope or resilience is negatively associated with burnout complaints. Significance of results Among workers with cancer recurrence or metastases, work ability needs attention. Furthermore, especially the element hope of psychological capital is important to focus on because of the association with more favorable work functioning in general. The clinical psycho-oncological practice may benefit from these insights in guiding this vulnerable group of workers who are living with active cancer and many uncertainties.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

Keywords

  • Burnout complaints
  • cancer
  • psychological capital
  • work ability
  • work engagement

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