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The Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ) asks respondents to rate their level of difficulty (or, on one scale, their level of ability) to perform 25 specific job demands. These demands have four defining features: 1) a wide range of jobs in the United States include these demands; 2) a wide variety of physical and emotional health problems can make it difficult to perform these demands effectively; 3) the demands are considered important to the job from the perspective of job incumbents; and 4) losses in individual work productivity are frequently related to the degree to which these demands are performed.
Responses to the 25 items are combined into four work limitation scales. These capture the multidimensionality of job roles (most jobs involve numerous tasks). They also reflect an important characteristic of many health problems, which is that they may result in limitations in performing some activities but not others.
The WLQ’s Time Management scale (question 1) contains five items addressing difficulty performing a job’s time and scheduling demands. The six-item Physical Demands scale (question 2) covers a person’s ability to perform job tasks that involve bodily strength, movement, endurance, coordination, and flexibility.
The Mental/Interpersonal Demands Scale (questions 3 and 4) has nine items. Six items pertain to difficulty performing cognitive job tasks and/or tasks involving the processing of sensory information. Three items address a person’s problems interacting with people on the job. The fourth scale is the Output Demands scale (question 5). It contains five items concerning decrements in a person’s ability to meet demands for quantity, quality, and timeliness of completed work.
Source: Excerpted from Work Limitations Questionnaire, by The Health Institute; Debra Lerner, MS, PhD; Benjamin C. Amick III, PhD; and GlaxoWellcome Inc.; 1998.