Aims: To investigate whether self reporting of psychological demands and control at work is as valid for psychologically distressed subjects as for subjects with psychological wellbeing.
Method: Self reported demands and control (according to the model of Karasek) were compared to expert assessments through direct observations of each subject's work conditions concerning time pressure, hindrances, qualification for work tasks, and possibility of having influence. The comparison was made between respondents reporting and not reporting psychological distress as measured by the general health questionnaire with 12 questions (GHQ-12). The sample consisted of 203 men and women in 85 occupations.
Result: No systematic differences between self reported and externally assessed working conditions for respondents reporting different levels of psychological distress were found.
Conclusion: Over-reporting of work demands or under-reporting of work control is unlikely at the levels of psychological distress studied.