Introduction To date there is little literature on the health and sustainable employability of
adult intellectually gifted in work. This qualitative study aims to explore the assumed higher
risk on burnout of gifted employees. In line with the framework of the capability approach
sustainable employability is regarded as the agency of people to control their own health,
within their personal, social and environmental context.
Methods In this cross-sectional study, 16 participants were interviewed on the basis of the
capability instrument of sustainable employability in combination with the scale ‘ attitude to
work’. The coding process was conducted with an inductive strategy on the basis of seven
work values and a negative and positive attitude towards work. A sub-analysis was conducted
between the employees and self-employees (zzp).
Results The participants regard the usage and development of knowledge and skills as most
important for a positive attitude to work. The value of meaningful social contacts at work are
most often regarded by this group in terms of the content, only sometimes also in a social
way. A negative attitude seems to limit the realisation of all capabilities. Independent working
seems to be related with a positive attitude for all intellectually gifted. If employees acquire a
negative attitude, this is most often because of work conditions that limit the realization of
capabilities like bureaucracy and leadership.
Discussion There seems to be a positive relation between the realization of capabilities and a
positive attitude to work of intellectually gifted employees. The difference in the relation
between realization of capabilities in work and the attitude towards work for employees and
self-employees may be explained within the work context and limiting conversion factors.
The management of capabilities within a certain work context can contribute to optimizing
the realization of capabilities of the individual employee. Further research should aim at
mapping the social and environmental conversion factors of intellectually gifted employees.
Further quantitative research of the capability set of intellectually gifted is needed.
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