BMC Public Health. 2022 Nov 5;22(1):2028. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-14460-7.
BACKGROUND: The overall aim of this study was to examine essential aspects of reliability and validity of a constructed Occupational Mechanical Job Exposure Index for use in analyses of Norwegian register data. METHODS: We utilized data from the Norwegian nationwide Survey of Living Conditions on work environment in 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016 and 2019. Occupations were classified on a 4-digit level based on the Norwegian version of the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-88). We constructed a 4-digit correspondence table between the occupational codes used in the 2006 and 2009 surveys (STYRK-98) and the codes used in 2013, 2016 and 2019 (STYRK-08). The mechanical exposures were collected by Statistics Norway using telephone interviews. As for reliability, we examined the agreement between the individual- and the occupational-based mechanical exposures using Cohen’s kappa, sensitivity and specificity measures. Construct, concurrent and predictive validity pertaining to the Occupational Mechanical Job Exposure Index were analysed using both survey data and nationwide register data.
RESULTS: The analysis shows a fair-to-moderate overlap between occupational-based mechanical exposures and the individually reported exposures. Construct validity of the Occupational Mechanical Job Exposure Index, as estimated by a confirmatory factor analysis using the occupational-based mechanical exposures, showed that the 8 exposures formed one underlying factor. When assessing the concurrent value of the Occupational Mechanical Job Exposure Index to the index based on the individual reported exposures, the occupational mechanical index showed lower and reproducible associations with lower back pain for both men and women. For long-term sick leave, the occupational mechanical index showed higher and reproducible associations for both genders. As for predictive validity, the register data analysis shows that the occupational mechanical index was associated with disability and a higher number of long-term sickness benefits periods for both men and women. For men the index also predicted higher mortality.
CONCLUSION: Our tests of reliability and validity of the Occupational Mechanical Job Exposure Index indicate that the index overall has acceptable statistical properties and will be useful in analyses of Norwegian register data where individual information on these types of exposures is missing.