Mental health effects of changes in psychosocial work characteristics: a prospective cohort study

J Occup Environ Med. 2007 Aug;49(8):890-9. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31811eadd3.


Objective: To explore a possible causal relationship between psychosocial work characteristics and mental health.

Methods: Using longitudinal data from the Maastricht Cohort Study on "Fatigue at Work" (n = 2332), the effects of changes in job demands and decision latitude on subsequent changes in need for recovery and prolonged fatigue were studied.

Results: Increasing job demands are a significant predictor of a subsequent increase in need for recovery (beta = 0.063) and prolonged fatigue (beta = 0.057). An increase in decision latitude predicted a subsequent decrease in need for recovery (beta = -0.078) and prolonged fatigue (beta = -0.063). After adjusting for changes in other work characteristics, the effects on changes in prolonged fatigue were no longer significant.

Conclusion: These findings support a possible causal relationship between work characteristics and mental health and can be used for designing effective prevention and intervention strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Occupational Health
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychology
  • Workplace / psychology*