RUDN University medic together with colleagues from Kazakhstan conducted a study of the quality of life related to physical and mental health. The study revealed three professions in which the mental component of the quality of life suffers the most. The results are published in Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.

Quality of life is a complex concept that shows the level of all aspects of a person's life: material, spiritual, physical, social, and others. An important component of the quality of life is health-related parameters (Health-related quality of life, HRQL). It includes two components: physical and mental. Some studies have shown that HRQL may be, among other factors, related to professional activity. For example, it may be lower for nurses and welders. This can be associated with fatigue and emotional burnout, as well as with harmful physical effects. However, in some countries, a comprehensive HRQL assessment has never been carried out – for example, in Kazakhstan.

“General HRQL in Kazakhstan general population has never been characterized, nor has the effect of healthy behavior or lifestyle been included in such analyses. Furthermore, almost nothing is known about the association of lifetime occupations and HRQL in this population. We hypothesized that smoking, alcohol, regular physical activity, and occupational history in the Kazakhstani population may impact HRQL. Therefore, we constructed a population-based study with the aim to ascertain whether occupation and lifestyle are associated with,” said Doctor of Medical Sciences Denis Vinnikov, Professor of the Berezov Department of at RUDN University.

Doctors conducted a study that included 1,500 residents of the largest city of Kazakhstan, Alma-Ata. The average age of the survey participants is 28 years with an equal number of men and women. The doctors took into account the social and financial status of the participants, their lifestyle, professional history, and other characteristics according to the SF-8 questionnaire. It includes 8 questions in which respondents assess their overall physical and mental state: energy level, pain, interaction with people, mood, etc. The results were analyzed using regression analysis.

According to the survey results, the occupation had almost no effect on the physical component of the quality of life. Moreover, this result was the same for groups of men and women, smokers and non-smokers, for different age groups and other parameters. But the mental component was affected by work activity. Working as a manager (with a regression coefficient of -1.66), welder (-5.03), or secretary (-5.18), taking into account all other factors, was associated with a mental component. The strongest "risk factors" of reduced HRQL (both physical and mental) were age, low income, and female gender.

“The findings of this population-based study have distinct implications for public health and service. Income remains one of the most powerful determinants of HRQL, irrespective of age, smoking, physical activity, occupation, sex and exposure to secondhand smoke.  This mandates further governmental effort to reduce poverty, but not only to improve healthcare, enhance primary and earlier secondary prevention of diseases that are known to lessen HRQL. With regard to occupational associations with HRQL, further research is essential to ascertain the mechanism of worse HRQL mental component in managers and secretaries,” said Denis Vinnikov,


Journal Link: Health Qual Life Outcomes 19, 199 (2021)