The contribution of occupational factors on frailty

Ivo Iavicoli, Veruscka Leso, Matteo Cesari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction Frailty is a clinical condition characterized by enhanced vulnerability to stressors and increased risk of developing dependency and/or mortality. It has been described as the multidimensional and dynamic condition that cannot be easily disentangled from psychosocial determinants. To date, the possible role of occupational factors on frailty development and its progression at advanced age are not yet fully understood. The aim of this work is to provide a comprehensive overview of existing evidence exploring the relationship between multiple occupational issues (e.g., employment history, workplace risk factors, organizational job characteristics) and frailty. Methods A systematic search and revision of available literature addressing the contribution of occupational factors on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of frailty in the elderly was performed in the Pubmed, Scopus, and ISI Web of Science databases. Results The major weaknesses of existing literature reside in the heterogeneous operationalization of frailty and the limited description of the workplace factors. Nevertheless, an association between life-course occupational conditions and frailty was documented. In particular, intrinsically harder, manual, or blue-collar occupations emerged as possible determinants of the frailty manifestation and severity at older age. Conclusions Our preliminary results do not allow extrapolating definite conclusions. Further studies are needed. However, it seems that a significant relationship exists between the life-course occupation and frailty at advanced age. From a public health and social geriatric perspective, this work may provide the basis to define future innovations for preventing frailty at elderly adopting a life-course approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Frailty
  • Geriatric care
  • Healthy ageing
  • Occupational risks
  • Public health prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Ageing
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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