Monday, March 07, 2005

Overworked and Underpayed Causes Risk Behavior.

Job related psychosocial stress is typically measured by questionaire in the research setting. BrooklynDodger questions whether these instruments are measuring the external work environment or the individuals response to that work environment.

Overworked and underpayed [or otherwise rewarded] is euphemized ["the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant]" as "effort-reward imbalance." The demand-support-control questions include a series for co-worker support as follows:


people are competent in doing their jobs
people take a personal interest in me
people I work with are friendly
people are helpful in getting the job done

The premier long term study of work and health is the Whitehall II study of British public employees. The study regularly produces new findings such as that quoted here:

"...Alcohol dependence of participants in the Whitehall II occupational cohort...was measured ... using the CAGE questionnaire. The psychosocial work environment was measured by self report questions on the job demand-support-control model and on the model of effort-reward imbalance. ... Effort-reward imbalance at work was associated with alcohol dependence in men......Effort-reward imbalance predicted future longstanding illness, poor mental health and negative aspects of close relationships... In women, low decision latitude was related to alcohol dependence to some extent..."

A bad job drives people to drink to excess.


Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2004;61:219-224

The psychosocial work environment and alcohol dependence: a prospective study

J Head1, S A Stansfeld2 and J Siegrist3
1 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, UK2 Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Community Health Sciences, Barts and the London, Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, London, UK3 Department of Medical Sociology, University of Duesseldorf P.B. 10 10 07 40001, Dusseldorf, Germany

Correspondence to: Ms J Head Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK;

Aims: To examine whether a stressful psychosocial work environment predicts alcohol dependence.

[to read the full abstract, go to medline]

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