Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine   Official publication of Indian Association of  0ccupational  Health  
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 2-8

Healthy worker effect phenomenon: Revisited with emphasis on statistical methods – A review

1 Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
2 Health and Medical Services, Larsen and Toubro Limited, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ritam Chowdhury
677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts – 02115
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_53_16

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Known since 1885 but studied systematically only in the past four decades, the healthy worker effect (HWE) is a special form of selection bias common to occupational cohort studies. The phenomenon has been under debate for many years with respect to its impact, conceptual approach (confounding, selection bias, or both), and ways to resolve or account for its effect. The effect is not uniform across age groups, gender, race, and types of occupations and nor is it constant over time. Hence, assessing HWE and accounting for it in statistical analyses is complicated and requires sophisticated methods. Here, we review the HWE, factors affecting it, and methods developed so far to deal with it.


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