The development of an instrument to measure the work capability of people with Limited Work Capacity (LWC)

Gemma M C van Ruitenbeek*, Fred R H Zijlstra, Ute R Hülsheger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose Participation in regular paid jobs positively affects mental and physical health of all people, including people with limited work capacities (LWC), people that are limited in their work capacity as a consequence of their disability, such as chronic mental illness, psychological or developmental disorder. For successful participation, a good fit between on one hand persons' capacities and on the other hand well-suited individual support and a suitable work environment is necessary in order to meet the demands of work. However, to date there is a striking paucity of validated measures that indicate the capability to work of people with LWC and that outline directions for support that facilitate the fit. Goal of the present study was therefore to develop such an instrument. Specifically, we adjusted measures of mental ability, conscientiousness, self-efficacy, and coping by simplifying the language level of these measures to make the scales accessible for people with low literacy. In order to validate these adjusted self-report and observer measures we conducted two studies, using multi-source, longitudinal data. Method Study 1 was a longitudinal multi-source study in which the newly developed instrument was administered twice to people with LWC and their significant other. We statistically tested the psychometric properties with respect to dimensionality and reliability. In Study 2, we collected new multi-source data and conducted a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Results Studies yielded a congruous factor structure in both samples, internally consistent measures with adequate content validity of scales and subscales, and high test-retest reliability. The CFA confirmed the factorial validity of the scales. Conclusion The adjusted self-report and the observer scales of mental ability, conscientiousness, self-efficacy, and coping are reliable measures that are well-suited to assess the work capability of people with LWC. Further research is needed to examine criterion-related validity with respect to the work demands such as work-behaviour and task performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-174
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Journal Article
  • Low literacy
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Work capacity assessment
  • People with limited mental work capacity
  • Ability to work

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