Gender perspective in the analysis of the relationship between long workhours, health and health-related behavior

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2007 Oct;33(5):344-50. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.1154.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to analyze gender differences in the impact of long workhours (>40 hours per week) on a variety of health outcomes and health-related behavior.

Methods: The sample included all salaried contract workers aged 16-64 years (1658 men and 1134 women) and interviewed in the 2002 Catalonian Health Survey.

Results: Whereas the men with a high job status were more likely to work >40 hours a week, long workhours were associated with situations of vulnerability (low job status and being separated or divorced) among the women. For both genders, working >40 hours was related to a shortage of sleep [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.54, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.21-1.98, for the men and aOR 1.63, 95% CI 1.11-2.38, for the women]. Among the women, long workhours were also associated with poor mental health status (aOR 1.58, 95% CI 1.04-2.40), hypertension (aOR 2.25, 95% CI 1.17-4.32), job dissatisfaction (aOR 1.77, 95% CI 1.08-2.90), and smoking (aOR 1.71, 95% CI 1.22-2.39). In addition, among the women working more hours at home, long workhours were related to sedentary leisure time activity (aOR 1.98, 95% CI 1.06-3.71).

Conclusions: The relationship between long workhours and health and health-related behavior was found to be directly related to long worktime and indirectly related to long exposure to poor work conditions among the women and, to a less extent, to domestic work. The pathways that explain the relationship between long workhours and health and health-related behavior seems to depend on the outcome being analyzed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking
  • Work Schedule Tolerance / physiology*