To examine the association between work stress measured by job strain and effort-reward imbalance (ERI) and health functioning in a sample of hospital-based Chinese physicians, a self-reported survey with a standardized questionnaire was conducted in three hospitals in China, among 256 men and 266 women. It was found that both job strain and ERI were associated with impaired health functioning in men and women, but that ERI indicated a stronger association. Men's job control was significantly higher, and was related to men's physical health; whereas women perceived relatively higher job reward which predicted women's mental health. The findings provide evidence of the adverse effects on health functioning of both job strain and ERI, but ERI appears to have more explanatory power as a model of work stress in this sample of Chinese physicians. In addition, gender differences of work stress with respect to health are present.