Exploring the association between chronic breathlessness and workforce participation

About the project

Title: Exploring the association between chronic breathlessness and workforce participation, using Australia as an exemplar
Time frame: June 2021 to February 2022
Contact for more details:  Dr Joseph Clark

Not being able to work has negative health, social and financial consequences. Persisting breathlessness is prevalent in working-aged people. Is it associated with lower workforce participation?

This study, using the South Australian Health Omnibus, aimed to explore associations between paid workforce participation and persisting breathlessness intensity, and economic impacts on income in people of working age.  

We found that worsening persisting breathlessness is associated with lower workforce participation with direct financial consequences, greatest for older males. 

Estimates of the prevalence of chronic breathlessness and its impact on workforce participation are needed in other countries, particularly those where loss of work will have serious implications for the individual and the economy. Culturally congruent interventions to help people live well despite chronic breathlessness are urgently required.


Clark, J., Chang, S., Kinchin, I. et al. Lower workforce participation is associated with more severe persisting breathlessness. BMC Pulm Med 22, 93 (2022).