Insights into the concept of vitality: associations with participation and societal costs.

E. Steenbergen, J.M. van Dongen, G.C. Wendel-Vos, V.H. Hildebrandt, J.E. Strijk

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review



In healthcare, the focus is currently shifting from someone's disabilities to someone's abilities, which is also evident from the increasing focus on vitality. Vitality (here defined as energy, motivation and resilience) is an often used concept, which also aims at someone's capabilities. However, little is known about vitality yet; in particular about its association with participation and societal costs.


Within a cross-sectional design, information regarding vitality, participation and societal costs was collected among 8015 Dutch adults aged 20 years and over. Vitality was measured using the validated Dutch Vitality Questionnaire (Vita-16). Information on economic (i.e. want/able to work, work absenteeism, work performance), societal (i.e. voluntary work, informal care giving) and social participation (i.e. quantity and quality of social contacts) and societal costs (i.e. healthcare and work-related costs) was collected using an internet survey.


Significant associations were found between vitality and various economic (i.e.sustainable employability:want to work: β = 1.21, 95% CI: 0.99-1.43,able to work:β = 2.09, 95% CI: 1.79-2.38;work absenteeism: OR = 0.75, 95% CI: 0.71-0.79;work performance:β = 0.49, 95% CI: 0.46-0.52), societal (i.e.voluntary work, informal care) and social (i.e.quantity and quality of social contacts) participation measures, as well as between vitality and societal costs ( costs:β = -213.73, 95% CI: €-311.13 to €-107.08),absenteeism costs: β = -338.57, 95% CI: €-465.36 to €-214.14 and presenteeism costs:β = -1293.31, 95% CI: €-1492.69 to €-1088.95).


This study showed significant positive associations between vitality and economic, societal and social participation and negative associations between vitality and societal costs. This may stimulate research on interventions enhancing and maintaining vitality and thereby contributing to improved participation and reduced costs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-9
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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