Psychosocial exposures at work and mental health: potential utility of a job-exposure matrix

J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Feb;54(2):184-91. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31823fdf3b.


Objective: To examine the associations between psychosocial exposures at work and depressive symptoms by using two independent French national databases.

Methods: A job-exposure matrix of psychosocial work exposures was constructed from data collected by the national medical monitoring of occupational risks survey in 2003. Depressive symptoms came from the 2002 to 2003 decennial health survey. Data were linked by age, occupational group, and economic activity.

Results: The crude and adjusted results showed small but significant and systematic associations between job strain and depressive symptoms among men. These associations were much weaker for psychological demands and decision latitude. No statistical associations were observed among women.

Conclusion: The results suggest that, among men, using independent data on exposure and health, there is a robust association between job strain and depressive symptoms. They contribute to the debate about the causal nature of associations between psychosocial exposures at work and mental health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Workplace / psychology*
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult