Data from a community-based 4-year prospective study were used to investigate job characteristics as predictors of neck pain. Of 1791 working responders who completed a questionnaire in 1990, 1429 (79.8%) returned a second questionnaire 4 years later (1994). In responders without neck pain during the previous 12 months in 1990, the "little influence on own work situation" factor predicted neck pain during the previous 12 months (odds ratio = 2.21; 95% confidence interval, 1.18 to 4.14) and previous 7 days in 1994 (OR = 2.85; 95% confidence interval, 1.21 to 6.73) after adjustment for a series of potential confounders. In responders with neck pain in 1990, the little influence on own work situation factor was associated with persistent neck pain 4 years later. The study indicates that having little influence on one's own work situation is a predictor of neck pain.