Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 95–102 | Cite as

Disability Pensions Among Young Adults in Vocational Rehabilitation

  • Arnhild Myhr
  • Tommy Haugan
  • Geir A. Espnes
  • Monica Lillefjell


Objectives Lack of work-participation and early disability pensions (DP’s) among young adults are increasing public health problems in most western European countries. The present study investigated determinants of early DP in young adults in vocational rehabilitation. Methods Data from 928 young adults (aged 18–40 years) attending a vocational rehabilitation program was linked to DP’s recorded in the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Organization registries (1992–2010) and later compared to a group of 65 employees (workers). We used logistic regression to estimate the odds ratio for entitlement to DP following rehabilitation, adjusting for socio-demographical, psychosocial and health-behavior factors. Results Significant differences in socio-demographical, psychosocial and health-behavior factors were found between the rehabilitation group and workers. A total of 60 individuals (6.5 %) were granted a DP during follow-up. Increase in age, teenage parenthood, single status, as well as low education level and not being employed were found to be the strongest independent determinants of DP. Conclusion Poor social relations (being lone), early childbearing and weak connection to working life contributed to increase in risk of DP’s among young adults in vocational rehabilitation, also after adjusting for education level. These findings are important in the prevention of early disability retirements among young adults and should be considered in the development of targeted interventions aimed at individuals particularly at risk of not being integrated into future work lives.


Disability pension Norway Pain Vocational rehabilitation Work Young adults Social medicine Epidemiology 



The authors would like to thank the participants of the rehabilitation programme for their permission to use personal information for research purposes. Friskgården, located in Nord-Trøndelag County, has since 1995 developed a multidisciplinary rehabilitation model for individuals at sick leave with complex disease conditions. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. The study was approved by the Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REC) in Mid-Norway and informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnhild Myhr
    • 1
  • Tommy Haugan
    • 2
  • Geir A. Espnes
    • 1
    • 3
  • Monica Lillefjell
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Social Work and Health ScienceNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Nord-Trøndelag University CollegeSteinkjerNorway
  3. 3.Center for Health Promotion ResearchTrondheimNorway
  4. 4.Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Education and Social WorkSør-Trøndelag University CollegeTrondheimNorway

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