Workability and mental wellbeing among therapeutic prison officers

Emma Walker, Craig Jackson, Helen Egan, Matthew Tonkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)



Previous research has examined how age and health can shape workability (WA). This study seeks to explore how a lack of WA (inability) may affect the health of the employee.


To explore the effects of work inability on mental wellbeing among therapeutic prison officers.


An anonymous cross-sectional study of prison officers was conducted in a Category B English prison using the Work Ability Index and General Health Questionnaire-28


Fifty-seven officers (59%) participated and of those 95% achieved GHQ caseness. Officers with poorer WA reported significantly higher GHQ scores. Work inability for mental demands had significant associations with anxiety (β = -0.58, 95% CI -4.21 to -1.88, particularly sleep loss; Pearson’s r = -0.66).


Our findings present clear associations between poor WA and its impact upon mental wellbeing. The results of this study may help to focus on areas for intervention such as improving WA and promoting mental wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-551
Number of pages3
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number7
Early online date23 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2015


  • Mental wellbeing
  • occupation
  • prisons
  • work ability


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