The Job Accommodation Scale (JAS): Psychometric Evaluation of a New Measure of Employer Support for Temporary Job Modifications
Shaw, William S.
Kristman, Vicki L.
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An employer offer of temporary job modification is a key strategy for facilitating return-to-work for musculoskeletal conditions, but there are no validated scales to assess the level of support for temporary job modifications across a range of job types and organizations. Objective To pilot test a new 21-item self-report measure [the Job Accommodation Scale (JAS)] to assess its applicability, internal consistency, factor structure, and relation to physical job demands. Methods Supervisors (N = 804, 72.8 % male, mean age = 46) were recruited from 19 employment settings in the USA and Canada and completed a 30-min online survey regarding job modification practices. As part of the survey, supervisors nominated and described a job position they supervised and completed the JAS for a hypothetical worker (in that position) with an episode of low back pain. Job characteristics were derived from the occupational informational network job classification database. Results The full response range (1–4) was utilized on all 21 items, with no ceiling or floor effects. Avoiding awkward postures was the most feasible accommodation and moving the employee to a different site or location was the least feasible. An exploratory factor analysis suggested five underlying factors (Modify physical workload; Modify work environment; Modify work schedule; Find alternate work; and Arrange for assistance), and there was an acceptable goodness-of-fit for the five parceled sub-factor scores as a single latent construct in a measurement model (structural equation model). Job accommodations were less feasible for more physical jobs and for heavier industries. Conclusions The pilot administration of the JAS with respect to a hypothetical worker with low back pain showed initial support for its applicability, reliability, and validity when administered to supervisors. Future studies should assess its validity for use in actual disability cases, for a range of health conditions, and to assess different stakeholder opinions about the feasibility of job accommodation strategies.