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1.  Work-related stress and psychosomatic medicine 
This article introduces key concepts of work-related stress relevant to the clinical and research fields of psychosomatic medicine. Stress is a term used to describe the body's physiological and/or psychological reaction to circumstances that require behavioral adjustment. According to the Japanese National Survey of Health, the most frequent stressors are work-related problems, followed by health-related and then financial problems. Conceptually, work-related stress includes a variety of conditions, such as overwork, unemployment or job insecurity, and lack of work-family balance. Job stress has been linked to a range of adverse physical and mental health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Stressful working conditions can also impact employee well-being indirectly by directly contributing to negative health behaviors or by limiting an individual's ability to make positive changes to lifestyle behaviors, such as smoking and sedentary behavior. Over the past two decades, two major job stress models have dominated the occupational health literature: the job demand-control-support model and the effort-reward imbalance model. In both models, standardized questionnaires have been developed and frequently used to assess job stress. Unemployment has also been reported to be associated with increased mortality and morbidity, such as by cardiovascular disease, stroke, and suicide. During the past two decades, a trend toward more flexible labor markets has emerged in the private and public sectors of developed countries, and temporary employment arrangements have increased. Temporary workers often complain that they are more productive but receive less compensation than permanent workers. A significant body of research reveals that temporary workers have reported chronic work-related stress for years. The Japanese government has urged all employers to implement four approaches to comprehensive mind/body health care for stress management in the workplace: focusing on individuals, utilizing supervisory lines, enlisting company health care staff, and referring to medical resources outside the company. Good communications between occupational health practitioners and physicians in charge in hospitals/clinics help employees with psychosomatic distress to return to work, and it is critical for psychosomatic practitioners and researchers to understand the basic ideas of work-related stress from the viewpoint of occupational health.
PMCID: PMC2882896  PMID: 20504368
2.  The Gutenberg Health Study: measuring psychosocial factors at work and predicting health and work-related outcomes with the ERI and the COPSOQ questionnaire 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:538.
Several instruments have been developed to assess psychosocial workload. We compared two of these instruments, the Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) model and the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) with regard to congruent validity and internal validity.
This analysis is based on a population-based sample of the baseline examination of 2,783 employees from the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS). About half of the participants completed the ERI questionnaire (n = 1,342), the other half completed the COPSOQ (n = 1,441). First, the two samples were compared and descriptive analyses were carried out calculating mean values for both instruments in general, then separately for age, gender and main occupational groups. Second, we analyzed the relationship between ERI and COPSOQ scales on the workplace situation and on the workplace outcomes: job satisfaction, general health, burnout, satisfaction with life, by applying stepwise logistic regression analysis.
Results and discussion
For the majority of occupations, high effort as reflected by the ERI corresponded with high demands as reflected by the COPSOQ. Comparably, high reward (according to ERI) yielded a good agreement with high “influence and development” (according to COPSOQ). However, we could also find differences between ERI and COPSOQ concerning the intensity of psychosocial workload in some occupations (e.g., physicians/pharmacists or warehouse managers/warehousemen/transport workers). These differences point to differing theoretical concepts of ERI and COPSOQ. When the ability of ERI and COPSOQ was examined to determine the associations with health and work outcomes, burnout could be better predicted by the COPSOQ; this might be due to the fact that COPSOQ comprises the constructs “work-privacy conflict” and “emotional demand”, which are closely related to burnout. However, methodological differences between these instruments limit their direct comparability.
The ERI and COPSOQ instrument yielded similar results for most occupational groups. The slightly stronger association between psychosocial workload as assessed by COPSOQ and burnout might be explained by its broader approach. The ability of the ERI and COPSOQ instrument to reflect relevant risk factors for clinically manifest disorders (e.g., coronary heart disease) will be derived from subsequent prospective analyses of the GHS with the follow-up data.
PMCID: PMC3707767  PMID: 23734632
Psychosocial factors; Stress; Strain; COPSOQ; ERI
3.  Adverse psychosocial working conditions and minor psychiatric disorders among bank workers 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:686.
In most countries, the financial service sector has undergone great organizational changes in the past decades, with potential negative impact on bank workers' mental health. The aim of this paper is to estimate the prevalence of minor psychiatric disorders (MPD) among Brazilian bank workers and to investigate whether they are associated with an adverse psychosocial working environment.
A cross-sectional study of a random sample of 2,500 workers in a Brazilian state bank in 2008. The presence of MPD was determined by the General Health Questionnaire.(GHQ). Psychosocial work conditions were assessed by means of the Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) and Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ). The presence and magnitude of the independent associations between MPD and adverse psychosocial working conditions were determined by Prevalence Ratios, obtained by Poisson regression.
From 2,337 eligible workers, 88% participated. The prevalence of MPD was greater among women (45% vs. 41%; p > 0.05). In the multivariate analysis, the prevalence of MPD was twice as high among bank workers exposed to high psychological demand and low control at work and under high effort and low reward working conditions. The lack of social support at work and the presence of over-commitment were also associated with higher prevalence of MPD. A negative interaction effect was found between over-commitment and effort-reward imbalance.
The prevalence of MPD is high among bank workers. The results reinforce the association between MPD and adverse psychosocial working conditions, assessed by the JCQ and ERI models. The direction of the interaction observed between over-commitment and ERI was contrary to what was expected.
PMCID: PMC2991297  PMID: 21062496
4.  Effort-reward imbalance and quality of life of healthcare workers in military hospitals: a cross-sectional study 
Taiwan’s National Defense Bureau has been merging its hospitals and adjusting hospital accreditation levels since the beginning of 2006. These changes have introduced many stressors to the healthcare workers in these hospitals. This study investigates the association between job stress, psychological morbidity and quality of life in healthcare workers in three military hospitals.
We posted surveys to 1269 healthcare workers in three military hospitals located in southern Taiwan. The surveys included the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), the World Health Organization Quality of Life Questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF), and the Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) Questionnaire. High effort-reward (ER) ratio and overcommitment were defined when scores fell into the upper tertile of the total distribution.
The survey was completed by 791 healthcare workers. On average, women reported a higher ERI than men. High ERI was associated with younger age, higher psychological morbidity, and poor physical and psychological QOL domains in this population. High ER ratio and high overcommitment were associated with psychological morbidity and poor QOL in both sexes. However, high ER ratio was not significantly associated with the social QOL domain in either sexes or the physical QOL domain in males.
There was a clear association between ERI and QOL in the healthcare workers in the military hospitals under reorganization and accreditation in this study. We found ER ratio and overcommitment to be suitable indicators of job stress.
PMCID: PMC3471021  PMID: 22958365
Effort-reward imbalance; GHQ; Overcommitment; WHOQOL-BREF
5.  The relationship between depressive symptoms among female workers and job stress and sleep quality 
Recently, workers' mental health has become important focus in the field of occupational health management. Depression is a psychiatric illness with a high prevalence. The association between job stress and depressive symptoms has been demonstrated in many studies. Recently, studies about the association between sleep quality and depressive symptoms have been reported, but there has been no large-scaled study in Korean female workers. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate the relationship between job stress and sleep quality, and depressive symptoms in female workers.
From Mar 2011 to Aug 2011, 4,833 female workers in the manufacturing, finance, and service fields at 16 workplaces in Yeungnam province participated in this study, conducted in combination with a worksite-based health checkup initiated by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS). In this study, a questionnaire survey was carried out using the Korean Occupational Stress Scale-Short Form(KOSS-SF), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index(PSQI) and Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale(CES-D). The collected data was entered in the system and analyzed using the PASW (version 18.0) program. A correlation analysis, cross analysis, multivariate logistic regression analysis, and hierarchical multiple regression analysis were conducted.
Among the 4,883 subjects, 978 subjects (20.0%) were in the depression group. Job stress(OR=3.58, 95% CI=3.06-4.21) and sleep quality(OR=3.81, 95% CI=3.18-4.56) were strongly associated with depressive symptoms. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that job stress displayed explanatory powers of 15.6% on depression while sleep quality displayed explanatory powers of 16.2%, showing that job stress and sleep quality had a closer relationship with depressive symptoms, compared to the other factors. The multivariate logistic regression analysis yielded odds ratios between the 7 subscales of job stress and depressive symptoms in the range of 1.30-2.72 and the odds ratio for the lack of reward was the highest(OR=2.72, 95% CI=2.32-3.19). In the partial correlation analysis between each of the 7 subscales of sleep quality (PSQI) and depressive symptoms, the correlation coefficient of subjective sleep quality and daytime dysfunction were 0.352 and 0.362, respectively.
This study showed that the depressive symptoms of female workers are closely related to their job stress and sleep quality. In particular, the lack of reward and subjective sleep factors are the greatest contributors to depression. In the future, a large-scale study should be performed to augment the current study and to reflect all age groups in a balanced manner. The findings on job stress, sleep, and depression can be utilized as source data to establish standards for mental health management of the ever increasing numbers of female members of the workplace.
PMCID: PMC3923333  PMID: 24472381
6.  Association of work-related stress with mental health problems in a special police force unit 
BMJ Open  2013;3(7):e002791.
Law and order enforcement tasks may expose special force police officers to significant psychosocial risk factors. The aim of this work is to investigate the relationship between job stress and the presence of mental health symptoms while controlling sociodemographical, occupational and personality variables in special force police officers.
At different time points, 292 of 294 members of the ‘VI Reparto Mobile’, a special police force engaged exclusively in the enforcement of law and order, responded to our invitation to complete questionnaires for the assessment of personality traits, work-related stress (using the Demand–Control–Support (DCS) and the Effort–Reward–Imbalance (ERI) models) and mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and burnout.
Regression analyses showed that lower levels of support and reward and higher levels of effort and overcommitment were associated with higher levels of mental health symptoms. Psychological screening revealed 21 (7.3%) likely cases of mild depression (Beck Depression Inventory, BDI≥10). Officers who had experienced a discrepancy between work effort and rewards showed a marked increase in the risk of depression (OR 7.89, 95% CI 2.32 to 26.82) when compared with their counterparts who did not perceive themselves to be in a condition of distress.
The findings of this study suggest that work-related stress may play a role in the development of mental health problems in police officers. The prevalence of mental health symptoms in the cohort investigated here was low, but not negligible in the case of depression. Since special forces police officers have to perform sensitive tasks for which a healthy psychological functioning is needed, the results of this study suggest that steps should be taken to prevent distress and improve the mental well-being of these workers.
PMCID: PMC3717472  PMID: 23872288
Occupational & Industrial Medicine; Public Health
7.  Psychosocial stress at work and perceived quality of care among clinicians in surgery 
Little is known about the association between job stress and job performance among surgeons, although physicians' well-being could be regarded as an important quality indicator. This paper examines associations between psychosocial job stress and perceived health care quality among German clinicians in surgery.
Survey data of 1,311 surgeons from 489 hospitals were analysed. Psychosocial stress at work was measured by the effort-reward imbalance model (ERI) and the demand-control model (job strain). The quality of health care was evaluated by physicians' self-assessed performance, service quality and error frequency. Data were collected in a nationwide standardised mail survey. 53% of the contacted hospitals sent back the questionnaire; the response rate of the clinicians in the participating hospitals was about 65%. To estimate the association between job stress and quality of care multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted.
Clinicians exposed to job stress have an increased risk of reporting suboptimal quality of care. Magnitude of the association varies depending on the respective job stress model and the indicator of health care quality used. Odds ratios, adjusted for gender, occupational position and job experience vary between 1.04 (CI 0.70-1.57) and 3.21 (CI 2.23-4.61).
Findings indicate that theoretical models of psychosocial stress at work can enrich the analysis of effects of working conditions on health care quality. Moreover, results suggest interventions for job related health promotion measures to improve the clinicians' working conditions, their quality of care and their patients' health.
PMCID: PMC3119178  PMID: 21599882
8.  The relevance of socio-demographic and occupational variables for the assessment of work-related stress risk 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1157.
Work-related stress is widely recognized as one of the major challenges to occupational health and safety. The correlation between work-related stress risk factors and physical health outcomes is widely acknowledged. This study investigated socio-demographic and occupational variables involved in perceived risk of work-related stress.
The Italian version of the Health and Safety Executive Management Standards Indicator Tool was used in a large survey to examine the relationship between work-related stress risks and workers’ demographic and occupational characteristics. Out of 8,527 questionnaires distributed among workers (from 75 organizations) 6,378 were returned compiled (74.8%); a set of mixed effects models were adopted to test single and combined effects of the variables on work-related stress risk.
Female workers reported lower scores on control and peer support and more negative perceptions of relationships and change at work than male workers, most of them with full-time contracts. Age, job seniority, and educational level appeared positively correlated with control at work, but negatively with job demands. Fixed-term workers had positive perceptions regarding job demands and relationships, but more difficulties about their role at work than permanent workers. A commuting time longer than one hour and shift work appeared to be associated with higher levels of risk factors for work-related stress (except for role), the latter having more negative effects, increasing with age.
The findings suggest that the assessment and management of work-related stress risk should consider specific socio-demographic and occupational risk factors such as gender, age, educational level, job status, shift work, commuting time, job contracts.
PMCID: PMC4029374  PMID: 24325192
Work-related stress; Risk factors; Italy; Epidemiological survey; Management standards indicator tool
9.  From insecure to secure employment: changes in work, health, health related behaviours, and sickness absence 
Aims: To determine whether change in employment status (from fixed term to permanent employment) is followed by changes in work, health, health related behaviours, and sickness absence.
Methods: Prospective cohort study with four year follow up. Data from 4851 (710 male, 4141 female) hospital employees having a fixed term or permanent job contract on entry to the study were collected at baseline and follow up.
Results: At baseline, compared to permanent employees, fixed term employees reported lower levels of workload, job security, and job satisfaction. They also reported greater work ability. All fixed term employees had a lower rate of medically certified sickness absence at baseline. Baseline rate ratios for those who remained fixed term were 0.64 (95% CI 0.55 to 0.75), and were 0.50 (95% CI 0.34 to 0.75) for those who later became permanent. Continuous fixed term employment was not associated with changes in the outcome measures. Change from fixed term to permanent employment was followed by an increase in job security, enduring job satisfaction, and increased medically certified sickness absence (compared to permanent workers rate ratio 0.96 (95% CI 0.80 to 1.16)). Other indicators of work, health, and health related behaviours remained unchanged.
Conclusion: Receiving a permanent job contract after fixed term employment is associated with favourable changes in job security and job satisfaction. The corresponding increase in sickness absence might be due to a reduction in presenteeism and the wearing off of health related selection.
PMCID: PMC1740437  PMID: 14634187
10.  Long-Term Sickness Absence Due to Mental Disorders Is Associated with Individual Features and Psychosocial Work Conditions 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115885.
Sickness absence is a socioeconomic global burden. In Brazil, mental disorders are the third leading cause of social security benefits payments. The aim of the present study was to compare factors associated with long-term sickness absence between workers who claimed social benefits due to mental disorders or by other causes. We investigated individual features and occupational characteristics. In addition, we evaluated psychosocial factors at work assessed by the Demand-Control-Support (DCS) and Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) models, and whether they were associated with long-term sickness absence due to mental disorders (LTSA-MD).
The present case-control study was conducted in São Paulo, Brazil. The sample (n = 385) included workers on sick leave for more than 15 days. Cases were the participants with disabling psychiatric illnesses, and controls were the ones with other disabling diseases. Interviews were conducted to assess individual features (sociodemographic data, health habits/lifestyle, health conditions) and occupational characteristics. The participants' perception of exposure to dimensions of the DCS and ERI models was also recorded. Multiple logistic regressions were performed to evaluate the association between independent variables and LTSA-MD.
All the regression analyses showed that LTSA-MD was associated with female sex, self-reported white skin color, higher education level, high tobacco consumption, high alcohol intake, two or more comorbidities, exposure to violence at work, high job strain and low social support at work, effort-reward imbalance and high overcommitment to work. LTSA-MD was associated with separate and combined DCS and ERI stress models.
Individual features and work conditions were associated with LTSA-MD. Combined analysis of stress models showed that psychosocial factors at work were significantly associated with LTSA-MD. Resourceful use of this information may contribute to the implementation of preventive actions and strategies to facilitate return to work targeting the populations most susceptible to mental disorders.
PMCID: PMC4274157  PMID: 25531900
11.  Body mass index, blood pressure, and glucose and lipid metabolism among permanent and fixed-term workers in the manufacturing industry: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:207.
Temporary employment, a precarious form of employment, is recognized as social determinant of poor health. However, evidence supporting precarious employment as a risk factor for health is mainly obtained from subjective data. Studies using objective clinical measurement data in the assessment of health status are limited. This study compared body mass index (BMI), lipid and glucose metabolism, and health-related lifestyle factors between permanent workers and fixed-term workers employed in the manufacturing industry.
Data of 1,701 male manufacturing industry workers <50 years old in Japan were collected and analyzed. Anthropometric data were BMI, calculated using measured height and weight of study participants, and blood pressure. For lipid metabolism, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride levels were determined. For glucose metabolism, fasting plasma glucose and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels were measured. Multiple regression analysis adjusted for age and lifestyle factors was performed.
BMI was significantly higher in permanent workers (22.9 kg/m2) compared with fixed-term workers (22.4 kg/m2). The leaner population (BMI < 18.5) was greater among fixed-term workers (8.3%) compared with permanent workers (4.0%), whereas the overweight population (BMI ≥ 25.0) was greater among permanent workers (21.4%) compared with fixed-term workers (18.1%). Although fixed-term workers tended not to be overweight, regression analysis adjusted for age and lifestyle factors suggested that fixed-term employment was significantly associated with higher blood pressure (systolic β = 2.120, diastolic β = 2.793), triglyceride (β = 11.147), fasting blood glucose (β = 2.218), and HbA1c (β = 0.107) compared with permanent workers (all p < 0.01).
Fixed-term workers showed more health risks, such as poorer blood pressure and lipid and glucose metabolism, even when adjusted for age and lifestyle variables, although BMI of fixed-term workers were lower than permanent workers. Precarious work might contribute to a deteriorating health status even among less overweight populations.
PMCID: PMC3942209  PMID: 24576216
Job insecurity; Unstable employment; Precarious employment; Flexible work; Fixed-term workers; Temporary work; Social determinants of health; Manufacturing industry
12.  Effort-reward imbalance at work and the co-occurrence of lifestyle risk factors: cross-sectional survey in a sample of 36,127 public sector employees 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:24.
In occupational life, a mismatch between high expenditure of effort and receiving few rewards may promote the co-occurrence of lifestyle risk factors, however, there is insufficient evidence to support or refute this hypothesis. The aim of this study is to examine the extent to which the dimensions of the Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) model – effort, rewards and ERI – are associated with the co-occurrence of lifestyle risk factors.
Based on data from the Finnish Public Sector Study, cross-sectional analyses were performed for 28,894 women and 7233 men. ERI was conceptualized as a ratio of effort and rewards. To control for individual differences in response styles, such as a personal disposition to answer negatively to questionnaires, occupational and organizational -level ecological ERI scores were constructed in addition to individual-level ERI scores. Risk factors included current smoking, heavy drinking, body mass index ≥25 kg/m2, and physical inactivity. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to estimate the likelihood of having one risk factor, two risk factors, and three or four risk factors. The associations between ERI and single risk factors were explored using binary logistic regression models.
After adjustment for age, socioeconomic position, marital status, and type of job contract, women and men with high ecological ERI were 40% more likely to have simultaneously ≥3 lifestyle risk factors (vs. 0 risk factors) compared with their counterparts with low ERI. When examined separately, both low ecological effort and low ecological rewards were also associated with an elevated prevalence of risk factor co-occurrence. The results obtained with the individual-level scores were in the same direction. The associations of ecological ERI with single risk factors were generally less marked than the associations with the co-occurrence of risk factors.
This study suggests that a high ratio of occupational efforts relative to rewards may be associated with an elevated risk of having multiple lifestyle risk factors. However, an unexpected association between low effort and a higher likelihood of risk factor co-occurrence as well as the absence of data on overcommitment (and thereby a lack of full test of the ERI model) warrant caution in regard to the extent to which the entire ERI model is supported by our evidence.
PMCID: PMC1379636  PMID: 16464262
13.  Psychosocial work environment, job mobility and gender differences in turnover behaviour: a prospective study among the Swedish general population 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:605.
Throughout the literature, substantial evidence supports associations between poor psychosocial work characteristics and a variety of ill-health outcomes. Yet, few reports strategies workers carry out to improve detrimental work conditions and consequently their health, such as changing jobs. The aim of this study was to examine if adverse psychosocial work exposure, as measured with the job demand-control and effort-reward imbalance models, could predict job mobility over a 5 years observation period.
Participants were working men and women (n = 940; 54.3% women), aged 24–60 years from the population of Gothenburg and surrounding metropolitan area. Job demand-control and effort-reward variables were compared with independent t-tests and chi2-test in persons with and without job mobility. Multivariate logistic regression was used to analyse whether psychosocial factors could predict job mobility. All regression analyses were stratified by gender.
Exposure to a combination of high demands-low control or high imbalance between effort and reward was related to increased odds of changing jobs (OR 1.63; CI 1.03-2.59 and OR 1.46; CI 1.13-1.89 respectively). When analysing men and women separately, men had a higher OR of changing jobs when exposed to either high demands-low control (OR 2.72; CI 1.24-5.98) or high effort-reward imbalance (OR 1.74; CI 1.11-2.72) compared to reference values. The only significant associations for women was slightly decreased odds for turnover in high reward jobs (OR 0.96; CI 0.92-0.99).
The results indicate that workers will seek to improve poor work environment by changing jobs. There were notable gender differences, where men tended to engage in job mobility when exposed to adverse psychosocial factors, while women did not. The lack of measures for mechanisms driving job mobility was a limitation of this study, thus preventing conclusions regarding psychosocial factors as the primary source for job mobility.
PMCID: PMC4073185  PMID: 24927628
Job demand-control; Effort-reward imbalance; Job mobility
14.  Occupational Factors Associated with Changes in the Body Mass Index of Korean Male Manual Workers 
This study was carried out to analyze and compare the occupational factors that could influence changes in body mass index (BMI) in male manual workers stratified into short-term and long-term work experience groups.
The subjects were 299 male manual workers (sampled systematically) from 27 workplaces, who had undergone travelling medical examinations at a university hospital between March 28 and May 10, 2013, and had also undergone medical examinations at the same hospital in 2012. Their general and occupational characteristics were investigated through a structured, self-administered questionnaire. The BMI at each point in time was calculated based on the anthropometric results of the medical examinations. Multiple regression analyses were conducted on outcomes of the BMI change and predictors composed of the general and occupational characteristics, with the subjects stratified into groups with 5 years or less (short-term) versus more than 5 years (long-term) of work experience at the present post.
In the short-term work experience group, the BMI increases of 3-shift workers and groups reporting disagreement with feeling “insufficient job control” and “lack of reward” at work, two of the subscales of job stress, were significantly higher than those of daytime workers and high-stress groups, respectively. In the long-term work experience group, However, although the BMI increase for 3-shift workers was also significantly higher than that of daytime workers, none of the job stress factors were significantly associated with a BMI increase, whereas the social factors of education and marital status were significant, and some lifestyle factors (such as smoking and regular exercise) were also significant.
This study showed that, except for 3-shift work, the factors associated with BMI increase could differ depending on the length of job experience. Consequently, different strategies may be needed for workers with short-term versus long-term job experience when designing interventions for preventing their obesity.
PMCID: PMC3923369  PMID: 24472722
Body mass index; Obesity; Occupations
15.  Selection from fixed term to permanent employment: prospective study on health, job satisfaction, and behavioural risks 
Study objective: To examine health, job satisfaction, and behavioural risks as antecedents of selection from fixed term to permanent employment.
Design: Prospective cohort study of change in employment contract during a two year period. Self reported health, recorded sickness absence, job satisfaction, behavioural risks, demographics, and occupational characteristics were assessed at baseline.
Setting: Hospital staff in two Finnish hospital districts.
Participants: A cohort of 526 hospital employees (54 men, 472 women) aged 20 to 58 years with a fixed term job contract at baseline.
Main results: During the follow up period, 137 became permanently employed. Men, employees in higher positions, full time workers, and those with five to eight years in the employ of the hospital were more likely to become permanently employed. After adjusting for these factors, obtaining a permanent job contract was predicted by self rated good health (odds ratio (OR) 3.90; 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.34 to 11.36), non-caseness of psychological distress (OR 1.80; 95% CI 1.01 to 3.20), high job satisfaction (OR 1.86; CI 1.17 to 2.94), and non-sedentary life style (OR 2.64; CI 1.29 to 5.41), compared with the rest of the cohort.
Conclusions: Investigation of fixed term employees yields new information about selective mechanisms in employment mobility. Good health seems to promote the chances for a fixed term employee to reach a better labour market status. These results correspond to earlier research on selective mechanisms in other forms of employment mobility and provide a partial explanation for the socioeconomic gradient of health.
PMCID: PMC1732246  PMID: 12177087
16.  Association between work-related health problems and job insecurity in permanent and temporary employees 
This research was conducted with an aim of determining the correlation between job insecurity and an employee’s work-related health problems among permanent and temporary workers.
Using the data from the First Korean Working Conditions Survey conducted in 2006, a total of 7,071 workers, excluding employers and the self-employed, were analyzed. Work-related health problems were categorized as backache, headache, abdominal pain, muscular pain, stress, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety or depression. Each problem was then analyzed for its relationship to job insecurity through logistic regression analysis.
Among the 7,071 workers, 5,294 (74.9%) were permanent workers and 1,777 (25.1%) were temporary workers. For the permanent workers, presence of high or moderate job insecurity appeared more closely linked to backache, headache, abdominal pain, muscular pain, stress, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and depression compared to absence of job insecurity. However, for the temporary workers, only depression appeared to be associated with the presence of high job insecurity.
The study showed that the presence of job insecurity is correlated with work-related health problems. The deleterious effects of job insecurity appeared to be stronger in permanent than temporary workers. Additional research should investigate ways to effectively reduce job insecurity.
PMCID: PMC3923339  PMID: 24472497
Job insecurity; Work-related health problems; Permanent workers; Temporary workers; Korean working conditions survey
17.  Can labour contract differences in health and work-related attitudes be explained by quality of working life and job insecurity? 
Study aim
We hypothesise that due to a lower quality of working life and higher job insecurity, the health and work-related attitudes of temporary workers may be less positive compared to permanent workers. Therefore, we aimed to (1) examine differences between contract groups (i.e. permanent contract, temporary contract with prospect of permanent work, fixed-term contract, temporary agency contract and on-call contract) in the quality of working life, job insecurity, health and work-related attitudes and (2) investigate whether these latter contract group differences in health and work-related attitudes can be explained by differences in the quality of working life and/or job insecurity.
Data were collected from the Netherlands Working Conditions Survey 2008 (N = 21,639), and Hypotheses were tested using analysis of variance and cross-table analysis.
Temporary work was associated with fewer task demands and lower autonomy and was more often passive or high-strain work, while permanent work was more often active work. Except for on-call work, temporary work was more insecure and associated with worse health and work-related attitude scores than permanent work. Finally, the quality of working life and job insecurity partly accounted for most contract differences in work-related attitudes but not in health.
Especially agency workers have a lower health status and worse work-related attitudes. Job redesign measures regarding their quality of working life and job insecurity are recommended.
PMCID: PMC3440562  PMID: 22105652
Labour contracts; Quality of working life; Job insecurity; Health; Job attitudes
18.  Psychosocial and other working conditions in relation to body mass index in a representative sample of Australian workers 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:53.
The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between psychosocial and other working conditions and body-mass index (BMI) in a working population. This study contributes to the approximately dozen investigations of job stress, which have demonstrated mixed positive and negative results in relation to obesity, overweight and BMI.
A cross-sectional population-based survey was conducted among working Australians in the state of Victoria. Participants were contacted by telephone from a random sample of phone book listings. Information on body mass index was self-reported as were psychosocial work conditions assessed using the demand/control and effort/reward imbalance models. Other working conditions measured included working hours, shift work, and physical demand. Separate linear regression analyses were undertaken for males and females, with adjustment for potential confounders.
A total of 1101 interviews (526 men and 575 women) were completed. Multivariate models (adjusted for socio-demographics) demonstrated no associations between job strain, as measured using the demand/control model, or ERI using the effort/reward imbalance model (after further adjustment for over commitment) and BMI among men and women. Multivariate models demonstrated a negative association between low reward and BMI among women. Among men, multivariate models demonstrated positive associations between high effort, high psychological demand, long working hours and BMI and a negative association between high physical demand and BMI. After controlling for the effort/reward imbalance or the demand/control model, the association between physical demand and working longer hours and BMI remained.
Among men and women the were differing patterns of both exposures to psychosocial working conditions and associations with BMI. Among men, working long hours was positively associated with higher BMI and this association was partly independent of job stress. Among men physical demand was negatively associated with BMI and this association was independent of job stress.
PMCID: PMC1409786  PMID: 16512915
19.  Measuring Effort–Reward Imbalance in School Settings: A Novel Approach and Its Association With Self-Rated Health 
Journal of Epidemiology  2010;20(2):111-118.
We attempted to apply the model of effort–reward imbalance (ERI) to school settings in order to measure students’ psychosocial stress and analyze its association with self-rated health in adolescents.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Kunming, China among 1004 Chinese students (468 boys and 536 girls) in grades 7 through 12, using a 19-item effort–reward imbalance questionnaire.
Satisfactory internal consistencies for the scales for effort and reward were obtained; the value for the scale for overcommitment was acceptable. Factor analysis replicated the theoretical structure of the ERI construct in this sample of Chinese students. All 3 scales were associated with an elevated odds ratio for diminished self-rated health, and the effect was strongest for the effort–reward ratio, as predicted by the theory. Sex and grade differences were also observed.
The ERI questionnaire is a valid instrument for identifying sources of stressful experience, in terms of effort–reward imbalance, among adolescents in school settings.
PMCID: PMC3900809  PMID: 20037260
effort–reward imbalance; psychosocial school stress; self-rated health; adolescents
20.  Factors associated with job satisfaction among Chinese community health workers: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:884.
With the medical reform, the function of community health centres emerged to be more important recently in China. However, the health service capabilities were tremendously different between metropolitan cities and small cities. This study aims to clarify the level of job satisfaction of Chinese community health workers between a metropolitan (Shenyang) and a small city (Benxi) in Liaoning province and explore its associated factors.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted from December 2009 to February 2010. A multi-stage sample was used and a total of 2,100 Chinese community health workers from the two cities completed self-administered questionnaire pertaining to job satisfaction indicated by Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ), demographic characteristic and working situations, stress and job burnout. The effective response rate was 80.7%. Hierarchical regression analysis was performed to explore the related factors. All data analyses for the two cities were performed separately.
The averages of overall job satisfaction score of Chinese community health workers were 67.17 in Shenyang and 69.95 in Benxi. Intrinsic job satisfaction and extrinsic job satisfaction among Chinese community health workers were significantly different between Shenyang and Benxi (p < 0.05). In Shenyang, hierarchical regression analysis showed that the fourth model explained 36%, 32% of the variance of intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfactions, respectively. In Benxi, the fourth model explained 48%, 52% of the variance of intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfactions, respectively. Three significant predictors of intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfactions for the two cities were the two dimensions (social support and decision latitude) of stress and cynicism of burnout.
From this study, the job satisfaction among Chinese community health workers in the two cities enjoyed a moderate level of job satisfactions, which represented they are not fully satisfied with their jobs. Community health workers in Shenyang had lower job satisfaction as compared to those in Benxi. This study strengthened the evidence that stress and burnout were important predictors of intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfactions.
PMCID: PMC3248884  PMID: 22111511
21.  Social inequalities in the impact of flexible employment on different domains of psychosocial health 
Study objectives: (1) To analyse the impact of flexible employment on mental health and job dissatisfaction; and (2) to examine the constraints imposed by flexible employment on men's and women's partnership formation and people's decision to become parents. For the two objectives the potentially different patterns by sex and social class are explored.
Design: Cross sectional health survey. Multiple logistic regression models separated for sex and social class (manual and non-manual workers) and controlling for age were fitted. Four types of contractual arrangements have been considered: permanent, fixed term temporary contract, non-fixed term temporary contract, and no contract.
Setting: Catalonia (a region in the north east of Spain).
Participants: Salaried workers interviewed in the 2002 Catalonian health survey with no longstanding limiting illness, aged 16–64 (1474 men and 998 women).
Main results: Fixed term temporary contracts were not associated with poor mental health status. The impact of other forms of flexible employment on mental health depended on the type of contractual arrangement, sex, and social class and it was restricted to less privileged workers, women, and manual male workers. The impact of flexible employment on living arrangements was higher in men. Among both manual and non-manual male workers, those with fixed term temporary contracts were less likely to have children when married or cohabiting and, additionally, among non-manual male workers they also were more likely to remain single (aOR = 2.35; 95%CI = 1.13 to 4.90).
Conclusion: Some forms of temporary contracts are related to adverse health and psychosocial outcomes with different patterns depending on the outcome analysed and on sex and social class. Future research should incorporate variables to capture situations of precariousness associated with flexible employment.
PMCID: PMC1733125  PMID: 16100314
22.  Job strain among blue-collar and white-collar employees as a determinant of total mortality: a 28-year population-based follow-up 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000860.
To investigate the effect of job demand, job control and job strain on total mortality among white-collar and blue-collar employees working in the public sector.
28-year prospective population-based follow-up.
Several municipals in Finland.
5731 public sector employees from the Finnish Longitudinal Study on Municipal Employees Study aged 44–58 years at baseline.
Total mortality from 1981 to 2009 among individuals with complete data on job strain in midlife, categorised according to job demand and job control: high job strain (high job demands and low job control), active job (high job demand and high job control), passive job (low job demand and low job control) and low job strain (low job demand and high job control).
1836 persons died during the follow-up. Low job control among men increased (age-adjusted HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.42) and high job demand among women decreased the risk for total mortality HR 0.82 (95% CI 0.71 to 0.95). Adjustment for occupational group, lifestyle and health factors attenuated the association for men. In the analyses stratified by occupational group, high job strain increased the risk of mortality among white-collar men (HR 1.52, 95% CI 1.09 to 2.13) and passive job among blue-collar men (HR 1.28, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.47) compared with men with low job strain. Adjustment for lifestyle and health factors attenuated the risks. Among white-collar women having an active job decreased the risk for mortality (HR 0.78, 95% CI 0.60 to 1.00).
The impact of job strain on mortality was different according to gender and occupational group among middle-aged public sector employees.
Article summary
Article focus
High job strain and its components, high job demand and low job control, predict cardiovascular and total mortality.
Although lower socioeconomic position is a risk factor for premature total mortality, few studies have explored the effect of job strain on mortality within socioeconomic groups and the ones that exist, report conflicting findings.
Key messages
In a population-based cohort of middle-aged public sector employees, low job control among men increased and high job demand among women decreased the risk of mortality during a 28-year follow-up.
High job strain increased the risk of mortality among white-collar men and passive job among blue-collar men compared with men with low job strain.
Active job among white-collar women decreased the risk for mortality compared with those with low job strain.
Strengths and limitations of this study
A major strength was the representative large sample of public sector employees working both in white-collar and blue-collar professions and the long follow-up time on mortality collected from the national mortality register.
A limitation is the self-reported job strain, however, high correlations between subjective and expert ratings on work conditions have been reported. The assessment of job strain was measured at a single time point in midlife which might imperfectly reflect long-term job strain, however, the municipal employees in our cohort had stable work histories indicating stability probably also for job strain during their earlier working life.
PMCID: PMC3307125  PMID: 22422919
23.  A prospective study of cumulative job stress in relation to mental health 
BMC Public Health  2005;5:67.
This study tests associations between psychosocial stress at work measured by the effort-reward imbalance model in a dynamic perspective, and multiple indicators of poor mental health, in a prospective design.
1986 male and female employees from four Belgian enterprises were followed-up over one year within the framework of the Somstress study. Based on two consecutive measurements, an index of cumulative job stress was constructed and its associations with five indicators of mental health were studied, excluding caseness at entry (for depression, anxiety, somatisation, chronic fatigue and psychotropic drug consumption respectively). Taking into account the longitudinal design, four categories of job stress are defined: 1) employees free from stress at both measures, 2) job stress present at first measure but not at the second one, 3) recent onset of job stress as evidenced by second measure 4) workers exposed to stress at both measures. Multivariate logistic regression with appropriate adjustments was applied.
In bivariate analysis, a clear graded association of cumulative job stress with all five mental health indicators is observed, both in men and women. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, recent onset of stress is strongly associated with poor mental health among men (odds ratios ranging from 1.8 to 4.6), while cumulative stress shows strongest effects on mental health in women (odds ratios ranging from 1.4 to 7.1).
Cumulative experience and recent onset of job stress in terms of high effort spent and low reward received is associated with elevated risk of all five indicators of poor mental health at follow-up in a large cohort of employees.
PMCID: PMC1177967  PMID: 15958170
24.  Combining a Job-Exposure Matrix with Exposure Measurements to Assess Occupational Exposure to Benzene in a Population Cohort in Shanghai, China 
Annals of Occupational Hygiene  2011;56(1):80-91.
Generic job-exposure matrices (JEMs) are often used in population-based epidemiologic studies to assess occupational risk factors when only the job and industry information of each subject is available. JEM ratings are often based on professional judgment, are usually ordinal or semi-quantitative, and often do not account for changes in exposure over time. We present an empirical Bayesian framework that combines ordinal subjective JEM ratings with benzene measurements. Our aim was to better discriminate between job, industry, and time differences in exposure levels compared to using a JEM alone.
We combined 63 221 short-term area air measurements of benzene exposure (1954–2000) collected during routine health and safety inspections in Shanghai, China, with independently developed JEM intensity ratings for each job and industry using a mixed-effects model. The fixed-effects terms included the JEM intensity ratings for job and industry (both ordinal, 0–3) and a time trend that we incorporated as a b-spline. The random-effects terms included job (n = 33) and industry nested within job (n = 399). We predicted the benzene concentration in two ways: (i) a calibrated JEM estimate was calculated using the fixed-effects model parameters for calendar year and JEM intensity ratings; (ii) a job-/industry-specific estimate was calculated using the fixed-effects model parameters and the best linear unbiased predictors from the random effects for job and industry using an empirical Bayes estimation procedure. Finally, we applied the predicted benzene exposures to a prospective population-based cohort of women in Shanghai, China (n = 74 942).
Exposure levels were 13 times higher in 1965 than in 2000 and declined at a rate that varied from 4 to 15% per year from 1965 to 1985, followed by a small peak in the mid-1990s. The job-/industry-specific estimates had greater differences between exposure levels than the calibrated JEM estimates (97.5th percentile/2.5th percentile exposure level, BGR95B: 20.4 versus 3.0, respectively). The calibrated JEM and job-/industry-specific estimates were moderately correlated in any given year (Pearson correlation, rp = 0.58). We classified only those jobs and industries with a job or industry JEM exposure probability rating of 3 (>50% of workers exposed) as exposed. As a result, 14.8% of the subjects and 8.7% of the employed person-years in the study population were classified as benzene exposed. The cumulative exposure metrics based on the calibrated JEM and job-/industry-specific estimates were highly correlated (rp = 0.88).
We provide a useful framework for combining quantitative exposure data with expert-based exposure ratings in population-based studies that maximized the information from both sources. Our framework calibrated the ratings to a concentration scale between ratings and across time and provided a mechanism to estimate exposure when a job/industry group reported by a subject was not represented in the exposure database. It also allowed the job/industry groups’ exposure levels to deviate from the pooled average for their respective JEM intensity ratings.
PMCID: PMC3259038  PMID: 21976309
benzene; job-exposure matrix; mixed-effects models; retrospective exposure assessment
25.  Different Effects of Workers' Trust on Work Stress, Perceived Stress, Stress Reaction, and Job Satisfaction between Korean and Japanese Workers 
Safety and Health at Work  2010;1(1):87-97.
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of trust on work stress. Trust can be classified into three dimensions; social trust, institutional trust, and trust in others. The relationship between work stress and trust is regarded as having three components. First, trust has an influence on work stressors as an antecedent variable; secondly, trust modifies the effect of the various stressors, and finally, trust is one of the stressors.
Data for this study was collected by interviews and self-administered structured questionnaires from 376 Korean and 77 Japanese workers in small businesses. Subjects were selected by two stage stratified random sampling from the working population of manufacturing industries.
Three different positions of trust are significantly related with the stress causation web. Social trust, institutional trust and trust in others significantly influence different work stressors in both Korean and Japanese workers. Three different kinds of trust influence work stressors among Korean workers, but institutional trust has no impact on work stressors among Japanese workers. As a moderating variable for perceived stress, distrust in an employer is statistically significant in both groups. However, stress symptom prevalence among Korean workers is modified by caution, trust in career development, and distrust in co-workers, but that of Japanese workers is modified only by distrust in employer. Job satisfaction of Korean workers is affected by general trust, utility of relation, institutional trust and trust in employer, but among Japanese workers, caution, reputation and trust in employer have influence on job satisfaction.
The effect of trust on work stress, perceived stress, stress reaction and job satisfaction are different among Korean workers and Japanese workers. Three dimensions of trust have three different positions as antecedent, moderating and mediating factors in stress causation.
PMCID: PMC3430942  PMID: 22953167
Work stress; Social trust; Institutional trust; Organizational culture; Comparative study

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